Welsh digital economy fastest growing outside London

A report published this week claims that the Welsh digital economy is the fastest growing outside London.

The analysis, released by English law firm Nockolds, says the total number of digital and tech companies working in Wales grew by 9.2 per cent last year.

In 2015, there were 3,275 digital businesses in Wales, a small but welcome boost of 275 from 3,000 in 2014. But this is still below most other UK nations and regions, except north east England and Northern Ireland.

London’s digital sector saw the biggest growth in the UK, with the number of businesses growing by 11.6 per cent – to 41,940 from 37,575.

One of the benefits for digital firms working in Wales, the report says, is that cities like Cardiff and Swansea offer low rents in comparison to cities like London.

Wales has emerged as one of the most lucrative UK nations or regions thanks to the digital sector, with it fuelling jobs creation all across the country – especially in Cardiff.

According to the Welsh Government, the tech sector alone has 600 fast-growth firms working in it, and around 30,000 are employed. That’s 3.5 per cent of the whole Welsh workforce.

Nicola Lucas, a solicitor at Nockolds, told the BBC: “Cardiff is particularly attractive for financial technology start-ups. The growth of the financial sector in Cardiff, which has benefited from the relocation of back and middle office functions post-financial crisis, is providing fertile ground for fintech businesses who have a significant market on their doorstep.

On the release of the report, Gareth Jones, founder and CEO of innovation centre Welsh ICE, said: “The fact that almost one-in-ten new companies in Wales are a digital company is just the beginning of a digital revolution as more and more companies look to solve challenges using technology.

“Founders in Wales being some way ahead of the competition in embracing these changes is really exciting, but we need a few more generations to survive in order to build a bank of experts, mentors, and investors to create the perfect conditions for growth.

“We need to double-down on investments made to support the growth of this sector, through education, and other initiatives that help to make life easier for digital founders.  These are exciting times to be involved in the start-up scene in Wales!”

Image credit: James Petts