Supporting the Digital Economy

In a recent report on how technology is transforming the economy a profile of the UK digital environment was detailed. The report identified the conditions needed to support digital technology businesses.

Across the regions

The report included England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and profiled eight regions and 27 locations.

It focussed on the number and growth potential of digital businesses in each area, the presence of networks and the level of support provided by local organisations.

Some regions were known for agriculture with assets that included local networks, the supply of graduates and the presence of business support networks.

Strengths such as community engagement, links with universities and the ability to attract talent were also listed.

The strength of the digital sector was highlighted, as was the benefit of having a pool of employees who work in an area for a variety of different businesses.

The local community was also seen as of great benefit in creating an environment where people could meet, get to know others and feel welcome.

Even in London the role of a close-knit community was highlighted as a key factor in making the digital economy work.

In some areas research was an important factor as companies used the expertise of universities and other specialist bodies.

But more simple issues like access to affordable property were frequently considered crucial in a company’s decision to choose and remain in a location.

The availability of shared and co-working spaces was to the fore and seen as a good way to manage costs during the early stages of starting a business.

Simple things like networking events and organised meet-ups were highlighted as they provide a way to meet and collaborate with others at a similar stage of development.

Sectors as diverse as cloud computing, cyber security, data analytics, digital marketing, fintech, gaming, software development, telecommunications, the internet of things and many more are included in the profile of businesses dotted around the regions.

Some areas even linked their success all the way back to the Industrial Revolution while others credited it to the more recent development of building links with early stage entrepreneurs.

Closer to home

Northern Ireland was largely represented by Belfast with its long history of industry but mention was given to Omagh as a community of digital activity.

Key elements cited were access to local networks, affordability of commercial property, super-fast broadband and access to finance.

Such infrastructure is already available and thus the report provides encouragement for groups such as Digital Omagh – a network of people interested in all things digital.

So, the digital economy will keep producing jobs and Omagh can play its part by building on what is already in place to attract digital entrepreneurs.