Glasgow aims to be Europe’s largest smart tech hub, creating new companies and jobs
A new partnership aims to transform Glasgow into Europe’s largest smart tech innovation hub, creating scores of businesses.
The tie-up involving the UK government, Glasgow City Council and the Smart Things Accelerator Centre (STAC) also includes significant government investment. The goal is to create Europe’s largest “smart things” and Internet of Things (IoT) innovation hub.
The partnership centres around a £2.5 million private and public sector investment into a 250-desk state-of-the-art facility, christened “thebeyond” at SkyPark, Finnieston. The funding includes £257,000 of grant funding from the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Backers of the initiative believe that Glasgow can become a frontrunner in the predominant smart technologies over the coming decades - spanning the likes of drones, robots, artificial intelligence, nanotech, medtech and cleantech. The plans are being supported by industry executives with decades of experience from major organisations including Dyson, Plexus, Meta, Blackberry, Motorola and Volvo Cars.
Building on STAC’s success to date, projections are for Glasgow to evolve into an innovation leader with a focus on industrial, lifestyle, health and sustainability technologies, with a view to as many as 100 companies being up and running by the end of 2024. Through the partnership, the city will become a test bed for homegrown innovations via STAC, which was launched in 2021.
Paul Wilson, chief executive and co-founder of STAC, and driving force behind the partnership, said: “Glasgow can be a powerhouse in the key technologies that will enhance life and industry for the next decades. As we build the leading tech cluster around STAC’s ‘thebeyond’ we will gain a reputation and attract international investment. That’s the goal, ambitious and realisable. We believe thebeyond will be Europe’s largest smart things and IoT space.
“Glasgow has all the elements - talent, innovation, and a collaborative spirit - needed to lead in what is known as the ‘Era of Things’. We believe we are on the cusp of something extraordinary. From thebeyond tech companies will develop tomorrow’s technologies to compete in global markets.”
Sean Murphy, vice-president global supply chain at Meta and STAC advisory member, said: “Technology innovation being driven through STAC’s accelerator programme can provide companies like Meta a vital source of first-of-kind technologies that will change how people live, communicate and play in future. That's the play here at thebeyond.”
Councillor Ricky Bell, deputy leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “This collaboration will help Glasgow become a leading technology-driven city, with our services and buildings powered by homegrown innovation to the benefit of everyone who lives, works and studies here. We will empower Glasgow's start-ups to hone their technologies here and then compete internationally, enhancing our position on the global tech stage and bringing a great number of new jobs and careers in this sector.”
Glasgow is building momentum in smart things with a number of technology companies already winning UK and international market share - including Utopi, Beringar and IOpt in the area of property technology (proptech), Krucial in space and satellite tech, Novosound in ultrasound technology and Kingdom Technology in robotics.
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