Diversity and authenticity in the South West tech scene

Nick Sturge, steering group member and Director at Bristol’s Engine Shed, talks about his excitement for the inaugural Tech South West Awards and the authenticity of the South West.

“Awards are a great way of companies getting both reward for their achievement and also some great profile. In addition, it’s a really good way of celebrating team members, in the accolade of winning and on the night!

All of the award categories are meaningful in that they represent specific areas where tech does and should make a difference, to both the economy and society, either locally or nationally. I am therefore most interested to judge the category for the best Tech Cluster area, as it’s in the nurturing of clusters that we can make the long term gains.

It’s exciting to see the importance of strong, vibrant and inclusive clusters that support entrepreneurs, raise ambition and help bring business and talent through raising the profile of the area. The fact that we have growing clusters, led by enthusiastic and committed people, is what excites me most – that will get the South West properly recognised as an engine of our economy.

There is so much hype around “tech” – globally and nationally – and that often obscures the reality of what is really going on. There is an embedded authenticity to the South West, which manifests, I think, as a prevalence of good quality, revenue driven and well-run businesses – that grow and sustain. Perhaps less of the startup excitement, but more of the sustainable growth.

That is a strength of the South West but often interpreted as a lack of ambition. Of course, if there was more investment capital, expertise and activity in the South West more companies could grow more quickly. We are on the cusp of greatness and so in some respects, holding these inaugural awards this year, will be pivotal in accelerating that growth of the region.

With regards to what’s going on in Bristol itself there is too much to list! We are seeing the emergence of diverse strengths – be that LegalTech, FinTech (or TechFin as is being used as a term more frequently now, to highlight the stronger back-end nature of tech in Bristol & Bath) alongside the autonomous vehicle work, robotics, AI, AR and VR. All emerging strengths with the inherent opportunity that we are adept, in this cluster, of crossing boundaries and finding innovative ways of blending technologies.”

Find out more about the new Tech South West Awards, and enter by 25th July


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