Tech Nations is a government supported report into IT and Technology companies and is used by international technology companies and investors to identify areas of significant technology based economic development. Typically the identified areas are also those where start-ups begin and thrive as they create an eco-system of which Silicon Valley is the best example. UK examples of this are places like Truro, as well as more typical examples of Bristol as the Western end of the areas across the bottom part of England.
Areas in Tech Nations benefit from gaining visibility as places to live, work and play with the infrastructure to support high tech jobs. They attract investment and higher skilled jobs which do not typically impact negatively on the environment per se..
Tech Nation areas are based on the ONS Travel to Work Areas. The most relevant is the Cinderford & Ross on Wye travel to work area last updated in 2011. This covers most but not all of the District. While Lydney is included it is the Southern point similar to Ross in the North. The area stretches across the top Eastern half of Monmouthshire. The aspiration would therefore require continued close working with Monmouthshire. It may also require other travel to work areas to be included.
Forest of Dean- A Tech Nation?
The Forest of Dean is ideally located for gaining entry onto the Tech Nations report with positive influences:
- C4% of our population in 2017 were employed full-time in Information & Communication jobs up over 1% since 2016 and just under 6% of our enterprises are typified in this sector. 6% were employed full-time in professional, scientific and technical and 13% of enterprises.
- World leading local manufacturers at the leading edge of technology,
- Range of technology SMEs and start-ups already in the District.
- GCHQ in Cheltenham provides high quality employment on our doorstep for some of our population.
- Newent Community Schools partnership with GCHQ, and world leading cyber security education programmes
- GCHQ’s technology partners based in Gloucester and Cheltenham
- Berkeley Cyber Centre, local access to resources, skills, and training for a high tech workforce
- Ambitions from Bristol, Newport and Cardiff around Smart Cities and the Western Powerhouse
- Investment in and development of Hartpury University Agritech Centre
The objective is to gain access to the Annual Tech Nation Report ideally by 2023. In order to do this we need to establish what is the current baseline of eligible individuals and organisations. Tech Nation counts those who are employed in technical roles in non-technical companies as well as all employees in companies with relevant SIC codes stated on their incorporation. Once we have established the baseline, KPIs will need to be created and monitored to determine the effect of other projects to achieve this objective.
TNAB stages include:
- Engagement with FoDDC, RoWTC and MCC officers and councillors to confirm desire to pursue Tech Nation status and opportunities available to work collaboratively on it to gather baseline data.
- Increased awareness amongst the business community in the travel to work area of the benefits of involvement in the Tech Nation Report through meetings eg creation of a Meetup; speaking at business events and through digital means
- Creation of an on-line questionnaire to capture the full data set in ways that make sense to businesses and individuals.
- Analysis of data and creation of a report which measures the baseline and determines the distance that needs to be travelled. This data to be used as the basis for future funded research.
- To determine the numbers against the Tech Nation criteria such as companies, turnover, individuals, jobs, projected initial GVA for the TTWA of Cinderford and Ross by December 2020.
- To assess how big the gap to achieve Tech Nation status and to conclude what might need to be done to achieve it.
- To return to the first stakeholder meeting of 2021 with proposals on how to take Tech Nation forward or to abandon the attempt.