Centre for Cities: Bristol’s becoming a hotbed for high-tech business

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Written by:   | Posted 11-July-2014 15:04

Centre for Cities: Bristol’s becoming a hotbed for high-tech business

The Bristol area is fast becoming an international hotbed and centre for high-tech and creative companies – according to a new report from an influential think tank.

The Centre for Cities organisation has published a report which found that Bristol is rapidly establishing itself as one of the most important centres in Europe for cutting edge companies.

The findings come just a few days after business minister Vince Cable made the same point on a visit to the city.

Mr Cable was visiting the Bristol Robotics Laboratory to announce funding for firms in the area when he made the statement.

And even though the Government this week announced that it has made £86.2 million available, the report recommends that more money should be found.

Professor Joe McGeehan, chairman of inward investment agency Invest Bristol and Bath and special advisor to Toshiba, said: “It is this diversity of connected sectors, skilled workforce, world leading academic research and brilliant quality of life that make Bristol and Bath so distinctive and attractive.

“Industries ranging from high tech to creative and digital media, and from robotics to aerospace, work collaboratively to drive innovation.

“Major global players are increasingly setting up operations in the Bristol region as they seek to benefit from this offering as part of their plan for business growth.”

A wide range of leading companies are based in the area including electronics manufacturers, animation and computer graphics firms, as well as digital start-ups and university spin-outs.

This ‘melting pot’ of companies ranges from the big hitters such as Aardman Animations, HP and Toshiba to small 3D printing and robotics technology start-ups.

Centres such as Bristol Science Park, the Watershed and the Engine Shed are also highlighted as a vital in terms of attracting companies to the area.

It has recently been announce that Chinese telecoms giant Huawei is setting up a research and development facility in Bristol, while Somo has chosen the city to set up a specialist engineering centre, and digital company Kainos has also invested in opening a new office in the city.

Joe McGeehan said: “Just over a year ago, we established Invest Bristol and Bath, the area’s inward investment agency to promote the region at a national and international level.

This move is already paying dividends as Invest Bristol and Bath, which is backed by funding from the Government’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, has created over 700 jobs in the past year.”

(Pictured: Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, at Bristol Robotics Laboratory, UWE.)

In a report from Nesta, the UK’s leading independent think tank on innovation, Bristol and Bath were highlighted as two out of the nine creative hotspots in the UK.

The Sunday Times recently recognised Bristol as the best city to live in Britain.

“New technology, the arts and a vibrant youth culture have helped to make this one of Britain’s most cutting edge cities” – according to The Rough Guide.

Three of eight SMEs chosen to take part in a recent robotics trade mission to California were from the Bristol region. The mission was organised by the Technology Strategy Board together with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).


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