Torbay gets a special mention in a new report which reveals the South West's tech sector is set to grow to almost £20bn gross value added a year by 2026, creating over 125,000 new jobs.
The research, from Whitecap Consulting and commissioned by Tech South West, reveals that the South West is rapidly becoming a global leader in environmental tech, with Devon an internationally recognised hub at the forefront of climate research. Devon's tech sector has 1,980 companies and a 598,400-strong workforce, generating £1,141m GVA in 2021.
Many of them form part of the Torbay Hi-Tech Cluster with several based at the EPIC Centre in Paignton.
The report showcases the world class tech firms, centres of excellence, science parks, university research and innovation hubs present in the region with specialisms including environmental science, marinetech, climate science and cleantech, along with fintech, deep tech and robotics.
The South West has the fifth largest tech sector of the 12 major regions in the UK, worth £11bn GVA annually, and is now generating around one in 11 (7.9%) of all new tech startups in the country.
With nearly 170,000 people working in the sector, the GVA per capita of £1,943 is the second highest in the UK when compared to all other regions outside London and the South East, the study reveals.
The research found that if growth rates continue in line with the past five years, even factoring in the economic disruption caused by the pandemic, the South West’s tech sector will be worth £19.2bn by 2026. Tech job creation in the region is forecast at 75%, rising from 168,169 in 2021 to 294,380 by 2026, an additional 126,212.
The report reveals the international significance of Exeter as a climate research hub, and spotlights the role played by organisations such as the Met Office and the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group in putting tech-related initiatives at the heart of the county’s sustainable development.
Plymouth is also highlighted as a world leader in marine and health tech, alongside the photonics and electronics sector in Torbay.
The South West also now accounts for the largest proportion of the UK’s tech lending outside London and the South East, with Bristol the primary hub for investment secured.
Tech South West has launched the Funding Advisory Board to help develop the funding ecosystem and opportunities across the region.
Dan Pritchard, co-founder of Tech South West, said: “Not only is this fantastic for the economy and jobs, it’s evidence of the role the region plays globally in tackling climate change.
"With international tech specialisms including climate and environmental science, marine tech, cleantech and agritech, the South West is fast becoming the UK’s natural green powerhouse of tech. It is substantial growth and a huge number of vacancies, which will require a combination of improved productivity and efficiencies, talent, and automation to help us get there.”
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