Reading: a £13.6bn global hotspot home for many multi-national tech companies
JLL is immensely proud to have partnered with Tech Nation to launch its annual research report, Tech Nation 2018, in Reading this week.
Global talent, leading higher education institutions, excellent transport links and Reading's proximity to London have all helped to attract major multi-nationals and create a digital powerhouse.
Tech giants need to effortlessly link into global markets and we have seen Reading's closeness to Heathrow, coupled with excellent transport connections into London, help it attract some of the biggest names in tech, including Microsoft and Oracle.
In turn, we have seen a dynamic technology scene develop, where entrepreneurs and start-ups can work together, without the premium of taking office space in nearby central London.
As a result, in 2017 the turnover of digital tech businesses in the area was £13.6bn, up 8% on the previous twelve months. In turn, the sector now employs 58,000 people locally and the concentration of tech firms in Reading is 8 times the UK average, according to the Government-backed Tech Nation 2018 report.
We are now seeing digital firms expanding their presence in Reading and the Thames Valley region and as a result, demand for start-up and scale-up space is growing.
Since 2014, tech firms including Nokia and Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson, have taken over 790,000 sq ft of space in Reading and the Thames Valley – more than any market outside London.
In March, the University of Reading, opened its flagship Gateway building, which provides 70,000 sq ft of flexible office and laboratory space for 20 tech-led companies.
Reading has a balanced mix of early stage and established firms. This creates an environment which helps to stimulate growth as firms can share experiences and learn from their peers.
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 tech sector nationwide.
It highlights how Reading's tech sector is upbeat about its prospects, with 70% believing the number of businesses will rise in the next 12 months.
Respondents say the area's strengths include its good transport links and the fact it is close to a university, which can supply the research and talent firms need. However, they warn a lack of workspace and the ability to access finance are key challenges facing companies going forward.
This article was written by James Finnis – Director Office Agency