It may come as a surprise to you that Bournemouth came out as the winner of Tech City UK’s recent survey of fastest-growing technology hubs.
If you compare the sunny coastlines and warm climate of California’s Silicon Valley with the seaside feel of southwest England, is it possible that Bournemouth could become the UK’s very own digital epicentre.
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The number of digital start-ups in Bournemouth has more than tripled in the years between 2010 and 2013. There are also notable strengths within the local community, especially when it comes to digital marketing and gaming university graduates.
Framestore, the creative studio in the UK credited with the special effects for the film Gravity, takes on a number of graduates each year. Further financial tech businesses could be boosted by the presence of JP Morgan which employs over 4,000 at its tech and operations centre.
There’s also £12,500 available as seed money via Creative England who look to accelerate the development of apps, games and special effects start-ups.
Bournemouth does however still have a long way to go. London still holds that magnetic hold over both staff and businesses as they strive for investment, with significant funding difficult to source in the southwest of England. The growth found by the survey, whilst promising, is also from a small base.
There is also the historical tagline attached to Bournemouth that highlights its popularity as a retirement area. Matt Desmier, a digital economy consultant, argues that the town needs to do more self-promotion to shake off this tag and work to improve its already successful infrastructure.
No matter what, it’s safe to say to that Bournemouth is certainly putting itself on the digital map.