Region leads digital growth

Ventana House on Sheffield's Digital Campus
Ventana House on Sheffield's Digital Campus
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Creative and Digital Industries companies are growing faster in Sheffield than in any other regional centre with city enjoying a significant number of businesses from the sector.

A new report by Trends Business Research shows the CDI sector grew faster in Sheffield than in Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Bristol between 2003 and 2009.

Toby Hyam, managing director at Creative Space Management, with the helter-skelter at Electric Works on the Digital Campus

Toby Hyam, managing director at Creative Space Management, with the helter-skelter at Electric Works on the Digital Campus

The report also shows that Gross Value Added – a key indicator of economic health – was higher for each CDI employee in Sheffield than anywhere else.

The report found the Sheffield City Region was home to more than 6,000 CDI firms, employing 20,900 people and generating sales in excess of £1 billion.

Hardware and computer services was the largest sub-sector, followed by software, and the report says Sheffield stood out in terms of CDI companies involved in craft and design, which could reflect the city’s manufacturing heritage.

Creativesheffield CDI sector investment manager, James Wilson, said: “These fantastic results reinforce the fact that Sheffield excels in the Creative and Digital Industries and are a real testament to the hard work and commitment that the companies who operate in the city devote to their work.

“This growth is also reflected in the take up of office space within the innovative Sheffield Digital Campus. The latest high profile edition to Ventana House at the Digital Campus is the entertainment and communications giant Sky, which is creating over 500 new jobs in the city.

“This has been a welcome boost to the city’s economy and the profile of the sector.”

Mr Wilson says CDI companies within Sheffield have achieved fantastic accolades. He cites as examples ZOO Digital, QUBA and WANdisco.

ZOO Digital develops software for producing interactive DVDs and has clients in Hollywood. QUBA is a digital communications company that works for organisations like the BBC, Channel 4, Land Rover and the Carbon Trust.

Meanwhile, WANdisco, based in California’s Silicon Valley, develops systems that allow software engineers around the world to collaborate electronically. The business established its European headquarters in Sheffield in 2008.

Toby Hyam, managing director of Creative Space Management, which operates developments on Sheffield’s Digital Campus, says that occupancy levels for Campus buildings are higher now than ever before, despite the economic conditions.

“There is no doubt that, for many small businesses, competition is particularly tough and trading conditions remain uncertain,” said Mr Hyam.

“Companies are working harder to achieve the same level of income as in previous years. Despite these challenging conditions, it is impressive to see businesses investing in new workspace, both to improve their competitive edge and to create opportunities for growth.”