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Government aims to join up UK tech clusters

Sam Shead | March 7, 2014
Tech City UK has been tasked with figuring out how to do this.

Harrison said he is concerned that regions outside London are suffering because talented locals believe they must go to London in order to be successful.

"There has always been a natural pull for entrepreneurs to head to London - it is after all one of the world's greatest financial markets and so is a draw when starting a business," he said. "But it's not the only place where support is available and regional government and businesses need to work together to get that message across and show what's on offer right on the doorstep."

Harrison said that he hopes SETsquared and other incubators like it will help to readdress the geographic split in the long term.

"We've certainly seen a trend in recent times for big businesses moving from London, like the BBC settling in Salford or the Met Office relocating from the south east to my very own home city of Exeter," he said. I suspect that this trend might gently trickle down to smaller businesses over time."

Harrison cites investment in infrastructure, quality housing and facilities as some of the wider elements that could help keep tech start-ups at home.

Luke Lang, co-founder of Devon-based equity crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube, that started life in the SETsquared incubator, said he agrees that the lure of London can be tempting. Reflecting on his own firm's experiences of doing business outside London as a fin-tech start-up, he said: "We've had no trouble attracting high quality professionals to join the team who actually find the prospect of escaping the city rather appealing.

"Similarly, it hasn't adversely affected our business or ability to win customers in any way. We have competitors that are based in the heart of Silicon Roundabout and we're beating them hands down. Essentially, if you have a superior product or service and you understand the needs of your customers, then you don't necessarily need to be based on their doorstep."

 

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