Many people are familiar with the Silicon Valley, which has been a leading tech hub for years now. The Silicon Canal in Birmingham is not a replica of the Silicon Valley but a unique tech ecosystem in the UK.
Birmingham is popular for its vibrant manufacturing sector. However, the tech talent in the city is attracting attention especially because of its contribution to the UK’s technology industry. In fact, some analysts consider the Silicon Canal as the future of the tech sector in the UK.
Read on for more details about the now popular tech hub.
The vision of Silicon Canal
Silicon Canal was established to create a tech ecosystem that connects individuals and organizations. The hub is also a platform for individuals and companies to promote their business locally and internationally. Silicon Canal is a non-profit organization and its management runs the ecosystem voluntarily to help the business community. The hub is located in Birmingham for various reasons, the main one being tech talent in the city.
Birmingham has more than 6,000 tech firms that employ about 38,000 people. Each year there are thousands of the students embarking on studies in business and computer science, so the talent pool is continually growing. Most of the software engineers in Birmingham have family ties in here; hence, they are unlikely to move to other cities or regions.
The cost of living in the city is low in comparison to other tech hubs throughout the UK, which enables families to have a high quality life, another reason why the talent pool is less likely to leave. Companies in Birmingham have the ability to operate at lower cost than their counterparts in London, which enables them to pay their employees a more competitive salary.
The Contribution of Silicon Canal to Birmingham and UK’s Tech Sector
Most entrepreneurs run out of cash before they can build a successful business. Silicon Canal is eliminating this challenge for many businesses that are looking to set up office in Birmingham. The tech costs in the city are lower compared to the costs in London, which has been the leading digital hub in the UK.
One of the greatest contributions of the Canal is the thriving business communities. The tech community in Birmingham is growing and holding regular meetings to share ideas. Tech startups have support and mentorship from other established firms in the City. The local networks support innovation in addition to helping tech companies to scale up their operations.
Birmingham ranks fifth among the cities with the highest digital turnover. The city’s digital turnover is estimated at £1.8 billion. Some of the areas of specialization in the Canal include digital marketing and advertising. Others include cloud computing and enterprise software. Business owners in need of a social media plan template can get it at a low cost in the digital hub.
The available talent pools
Birmingham has three major universities that contribute to the affordable talent pool in the hub. The talent pool enables local tech startups to expand fast. In addition, the affordable tech talent has attracted other large companies to the city including ASOS.
According to the management of ASOS, the cost of technology specialists in Birmingham is 50% lower than the cost in London. The living and tech costs attracted the company to the city. Of course, ASOS is not the only one; more companies are likely to relocate to the midlands to take advantage of the growing tech talent.
In addition to the strong networks that SMEs and start-ups enjoy in Birmingham, the city has become a hub of creative ideas. The UK records about 4,000 inventions every year and 2,800 of these inventions come from Birmingham. The second largest city accounts for more than 25% of all workforce in the UK.
The Future of the Silicon Canal
In the past, analysts thought London would rival the Silicon Valley because of the Silicon Roundabout in the City. The predictions have changed as the Silicon Canal expands. The management of the digital ecosystem has been running campaigns for businesses and individuals to join and support the network.
As the tech ecosystem expands, Birmingham may become the largest digital hub in the UK. The hub is already contributing to the country’s economy by supporting startups and SMEs. The contribution to technological and economic growth will increase in the coming years as the talent pool in the city grows.
The digital hub may overtake Silicon Valley in the coming decades. Businesses and individuals are attracted to Birmingham because of the low costs. The cost reflects in the competitive salaries that keep the best talents in the City. As long as the cost of tech startups and living costs remain low, Birmingham will remain the future of technology and innovations in the UK.
Tech companies will scale up and become part of the largest companies in the UK. Silicon Canal will continue to attract businesses in different industries to the city in the coming years.