Scotland singled out as new UK powerhouse for technology innovation

Scotland is fast becoming a new powerhouse for technology innovation drawing in major players, according to a new report.

Scotland’s data, digital and technology industries are called out within the study for leading the accelerated commercial development of 'deep technologies' such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing. Picture: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The country has been singled out, along with the North of England, Northern Ireland and Yorkshire and Humber, as an initiative from London Tech Week and UK Tech Cluster Group kicks off.

It highlights the “critical levelling up” taking place across the UK tech ecosystem showing how these areas are playing an increasingly important role.

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The report shows that top global tech brands are choosing to set up in these locations, which are also now said to be “fertile breeding grounds” for some of the very best start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the sector.

Scotland’s data, digital and technology industries are called out within the study for leading the accelerated commercial development of “deep technologies” such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing.

The country boasts top universities and innovation centres, which are ensuring the “very best expertise and talent”. Edinburgh was recently named the UK’s top city for start-ups and attracts more foreign investment than any other tech cluster in the UK outside of London.

London Tech Week festival director Suzy Pallett said: “This initiative is all about shining a spotlight on the whole of the UK and celebrating the very best of tech, to take our understanding of what this country has to offer a stage further.

“The first four reports make fascinating reading and show clearly that every part of the UK we have visited so far has something impressive to offer.

“There is much to be proud of and a genuine depth of talent, which will no doubt play a key role in helping rebuild our economy during these difficult times.”

Digital minister Caroline Dinenage said: “It is great to see the growth of the tech sector across the UK’s regions and nations helping to create jobs, attract investment and drive economic recovery.

“The 12 Clusters of Tech Report gives valuable insight into our regional tech specialisms and will help us develop effective policy as we work to make the UK the best place to start and grow a digital business.”

David Dunn, chairman of the UK Tech Cluster Group, added: “I am delighted we have partnered with London Tech Week on the development of 12 Clusters of Tech. We are highlighting some of the amazing companies from across the UK and showcasing technology to the rest of the world.

“From exciting start-ups to established employment powerhouses, there is a lot to revere across our ecosystems and we are proud to tell the story of UK tech by spotlighting the businesses leading the charge.”

The research noted that investors from around the globe were coming to Scotland to explore new and emerging opportunities, with Microsoft, JP Morgan and Amazon cited as examples.

There are also established home-grown leaders, such as Edinburgh-based FreeAgent. Now one of the UK’s largest online accounting services, the company cites the country’s transport infrastructure, affordable business premises costs, talent, training and tech incubators as draws.

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