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Birmingham – home to a dynamic and diverse £2.2 billion tech hub

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September 19, 2018

JLL is immensely proud to have partnered with Tech Nation to launch its annual research report, Tech Nation 2018, in Birmingham. 

We're seeing growing evidence Birmingham's tech firms are connecting with the investment and support they need to thrive, with the sector recording impressive growth last year.

Tech firms in Birmingham posted revenues of £2.2 billion in 2017 – up 6% on the previous year. While, the number of people employed locally in the sector has also grown, to over 17,500.

Birmingham is a dynamic mix of established and early stage businesses. This creates an environment where companies can network and learn from their peers, helping to fuel growth, according to the 2018 Tech Nation report.

Established firms in the city, include Advanced. While, Birmingham's notable community of start-up and scale-up firms include AI and healthcare company Kaido and fin-tech firm FeeLYX.

Digital tech businesses need investment and support networks and we're seeing these tech ecosystems emerge in Birmingham. This March, the £250 million Midlands Engine Investment Fund launched, providing financial support for SMEs across the midlands.

The Custard Factory/Digbeth Estate is a destination for digital businesses and unmistakably Birmingham's creative quarter. The estate was purchased by Oval Real Estate, and provides space for tech businesses big and small. The Innovation Birmingham Campus is also a key digital tech hub, and the campus, recently acquired by property company Bruntwood, provides a range of event spaces and flexible offices for growing tech firms.

There is great demand for these flexible workspaces, which can be quickly scaled-up and act as an incubator for innovation by allowing co-working and the sharing of expertise.

While, the city's reputation as a great place to live, together with moves to improve local skills, help attract and retain the workers it needs.

Birmingham's first coding boot camp, School of Code, received 275 applications for just 19 places. Three months later, 90% of applicants were working in tech, ranging from software development to project management.

The first Tech Nation report was published in 2015 to help develop an understanding of the digital tech landscape in the UK. It brings together analysis of official statistics, as well as a survey of over 3,400 people working in the sector nationwide.

Over 70% of Birmingham's tech community were enthusiastic about firms' ability to scale-up and they were positive about transport links, which are set to be further enhanced with the city's inclusion in the Government's hi-speed HS2 rail plan.

Looking forward, 82% of respondents believe the number of tech firms will increase over the next twelve months. We see no reason why this optimism should not be rewarded. 

This article was written by Kelvin Craddock JLL Director - Tenant Representation