Yorkshire’s digital technology firms have a total turnover of £3.7bn, according to Tech Nation report

David Richards, chief executive of WANdisco
David Richards, chief executive of WANdisco
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Yorkshire’s digital technology businesses have a total turnover of £3.7bn, according to a new study.

The report from Tech Nation found that 53,000 people are employed in the digital sector in the region, as growing numbers of technology entrepreneurs head to the region.

The study found that the East of England saw the greatest increase in capital invested across all tech companies over the last year, at 206 per cent, followed by the West Midlands (54 per cent) and Yorkshire (51 per cent). There are no comparative turnover figures for last year, because this is the first time Tech Nation has conducted a survey on this scale.

Commenting on the results, David Richards, the chief executive and co-founder of Sheffield-based WANdisco, commented: “The UK tech sector is going from strength to strength, with no sign of slowing down.

“On an international scale, the UK attracts more investment than anywhere else in Europe and is ranked fourth globally – a seriously impressive achievement.

He added: “I find it especially promising that the distribution of this investment across the country is improving, with a significant increase in capital invested across regions, such as the West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber, meaning that more of the country is contributing to, and reaping the benefits of, the UK tech ecosystem.”

Jordan Appleson, the chief executive and founder of Leeds-based scale up platform Hark, commented: “Leeds has always had a strong digital community, in the last five years we’ve seen this grow and Leeds has turned into a digital and technology hub.

“Start-ups, scale-ups, corporates and enterprises have everything they need in the North from a diverse talent pool (which continues to grow) to financial institutions who are willing to back the right businesses.

He added: “There has never been a shortage of opportunity here. Leeds has provided a solid foundation coupled with the right balance economically.”

In 2018, the UK managed to attract 5 per cent of global high-tech scaleup investment, placing it fourth in the world - ahead of Germany, France and Sweden, according to the Tech Nation report.

London continues to remain the UK’s leader in attracting high-growth tech investment, receiving £9bn from 2015 to 2018. Cambridge is second, at £583m, with other UK cities continuing to make considerable ground.

According to the study, Leeds has the same scale up investment patterns as Oklahoma City and Malmo. York’s investment pattern resembles Cannes and Lund in Sweden and the researchers also found similarities between investment patterns in Sheffield and Jakarta and Nashville. There are also similar investment patterns in Wakefield and Ottawa, according to the study.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond. said: “The UK tech sector continues to grow strongly with UK firms attracting the most venture capital funding in Europe and investment in digital scaleups growing by almost two-thirds in a year.

“We are supporting British innovation so we can drive growth, jobs and higher living standards, including through £2.5 billion for the British Business Bank. This funding will help high-growth firms to access the finance they need to succeed.”

Gerard Grech, the chief executive of Tech Nation, commented: “The UK continues to exceed all predictions when it comes to tech growth.

He added: “This report shows how the UK is a critical hub when it comes to global technology developments, with scale-up tech investment being the highest in Europe, and only surpassed by the US, China and India. This is a testament to the innovation, ambition and tenacity of tech entrepreneurs across the UK.”