Maturing tech scene looks to bright future

Sheffield and Rotherham support a total of 14,313 digital jobs, demonstrating its tech scene is '˜maturing', a new survey shows.

Wednesday, 14th September 2016, 12:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th September 2016, 3:37 pm
Andy Ward

Figures from PwC reveal the digital jobs add £273million to the economy every year and the area has evolved into a thriving digital city according to the firm’s report, ‘Sheffield, the vanguard of the digital revolution’.

The jobs are centred on data management and analytics, telecommunications and networking, hardware development, Internet-of-Things and e-commerce, it says.

Sheffield is also well served by an established entrepreneurial infrastructure of a university incubator culture, start-up support, maker spaces and a local government vision for a successful digital future.

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Sky Betting and Gaming is highlighted for its continuing investment. It is in the final stages of a £5million programme to employ 100 software engineers and designers.

The city is also home to established companies such as electronic patient product record and business system automation specialists Servelec Group, international calls provider Localphone, internet provider Plusnet and big data analysts WANdisco.

Only this week 350-strong videogames producer Sumo Digital was snapped up by a private equity firm.

They have been joined by a new generation of companies such as telematics company The Floow, awarded the ‘Made in Sheffield’ mark in 2014, and Airstoc, a price comparison network for commercial drone pilots.

Andy Ward, head of the Sheffield office of PwC, said: “Sheffield has a well-developed and forward-looking tech scene.

“By combining a strong sense of community, learning and technical excellence Sheffield and South Yorkshire has much to look forward to as a central driver of the north of England’s digital economy.”

Sheffield’s universities ‘strongly support’ digital entrepreneurship through the Kroto Innovation Centre, the Sheffield Bioincubator and The Hatchery and have more than 8,000 students enrolled in creative and digital subjects, the report adds.

A sense of community is reflected in a number of ‘communal maker spaces’ including Roco Creative Co-op and Access Space, while Sheffield City Council has ‘strongly bought into’ developing digital skills. In May, a consortium of local councils and the Prince’s Trust announced Launchpad, a £4m programme that offers entrepreneurs access to free workshops, events and mentoring.

Andy Ward added: “PwC is currently managing the Sheffield City Region Skills Bank, a new service which is born from the devolution agenda. It empowers employers to choose and invest in the skills they need and is a £17 million fund.”

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