TechWM, the not-for-profit organisation behind Birmingham Tech Week and the voice of the West Midlands tech sector, has today announced it will invest £1 million into the region’s tech ecosystem over the next 12 months, in order to build on the hugely positive momentum already achieved in the sector. The announcement follows new figures from Dealroom showing the region’s tech start-ups are now worth £15.8bn, after they collectively raised a record £600M over the last 12 months*.
Charged with helping the West Midlands tech sector realise its potential as a global tech superpower, TechWM’s investment over the next year will address a range of objectives, all of which fit into its wider goal of connecting, amplifying, and transforming the region’s tech industry.
Investments include, but are not limited to:
- A new Tech Acceleration Programme, which will work to help regional tech start-ups become fully-fledged global scaleups.
- An online Tech Showcase to keep all stakeholders within the West Midlands tech sector up to date with news and announcements, events, opportunities and initiatives. By pairing this Tech Showcase with a range of promotional initiatives, the success and innovation of the region’s tech sector will be amplified to an international audience.
- An Ecosystem Platform which will collate all of the support and services available to both companies and individuals, helping them to navigate the ecosystem effectively and ensuring they have access to the support they need.
- A Tech Support Hub based in Birmingham’s technology quarter, fostering an environment of cross-network collaboration and support and giving tech professionals a base from which to network.
- A new Digital & Tech Strategy for the region and a number of Special Interest Groups, such as The AI & Future Tech Forum, which will help to educate businesses about AI and future technologies.
Speaking about these upcoming investments and the future of the West Midlands tech sector, Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, comments:
“Our region’s tech sector continues to go from strength to strength and TechWM is central to that trajectory. TechWM acts as the voice of our region’s tech ecosystem – helping the West Midlands on its journey to global tech superpower status.
“This £1m funding commitment is great news – with TechWM investing directly in a sector that will be critical to our future economic success. This will be a tremendous boost to our start-ups and scaleups. It’s particularly exciting to see the new stellar Tech & Digital Advisory Board that has been assembled – a board which will be responsible for driving forward the Digital & Tech strategy right across our region. I cannot wait to see the progress made in the months and years ahead.”
The Digital & Tech strategy will focus on boosting business support, investment, and digital skills, and will be guided and implemented by the recently announced Tech & Digital Advisory Board. Chaired by recently appointed West Midlands Tech Commissioner, Martin Ward, the advisory board is made up of 11 key figures in the UK’s tech sector, including Janet Coyle CBE (Chair of Business Support); Lord Kulveer Ranger of Northwood (Chair of Skills); Paul Faulkner (Chair of Investment & Funding); and TechWM’s CEO, Yiannis Maos MBE.
Janet Coyle CBE, Managing Director of Grow at London & Partners and Board Member of the West Midlands Tech & Digital Advisory Board said:
“It’s incredible to see this investment go into the West Midlands’ thriving and rapidly growing tech ecosystem. I very much look forward to chairing further business support activity and continuing to grow meaningful connections between the region’s innovative tech businesses and wider networks in, as well as beyond, the West Midlands.”
As part of the West Midlands Tech Review earlier this year, TechWM announced its rebrand from Birmingham Tech to reflect a region-wide approach to their newly announced growth strategy. The strategy itself was created and launched with a mission to connect, amplify and transform the region’s tech ecosystem, further stimulating its already impressive growth.
This announcement saw three founding patrons, HSBC, Gowling WLG and the University of Warwick, join TechWM to support the transformation of the tech sector. Since then, another five organisations have joined their mission, including Accenture, Aston University, SF Technology, AND Digital and Bruntwood Sci-Tech.
Martin Ward, West Midlands Tech Commissioner, adds:
“In the short time since TechWM announced its growth strategy, we have secured funding from our stakeholders, designed and launched a portfolio of strategic projects to boost tech businesses and appointed a Tech & Digital Advisory Board made up of some of the most influential voices in the UK tech sector. And this is just the start.
“The investment of over £1m in strategic initiatives over the next 12 months will bring forward many new programmes and initiatives in partnership with our patrons and sponsors and help us continue to supercharge the West Midlands tech sector. The work the TechWM team has done so far is truly impressive and I think the programmes and initiatives announced will be a massive boost for the West Midlands tech sector and those who join us on the journey.”
Last year the region’s tech sector grew by £3.8bn, crowning it as the fastest growing in the UK. According to this year’s Local Digital Index, as published annually by TechUK, the West Midlands has the fourth strongest regional digital ecosystem overall, jumping from fifth place in 2022.
On the recent growth of the sector and TechWM, Yiannis Maos MBE, CEO of TechWM, comments:
“It’s been amazing to see the West Midlands tech sector evolve and transform over the last five years, when we first debuted Birmingham Tech Week. A region once overlooked in terms of tech, became the UK’s fastest-growing tech sector in 2021 – now worth over £15bn – and is now firmly at the epicentre of the UK’s ambition to be a global tech superpower.
“This is why I’m so pleased we are now in a position to invest significantly in the future growth of the ecosystem and community. The investment, announced today, will supercharge the sector and give a big boost to businesses looking to scale and go global. I’ve always believed we’ve had the potential to be an international tech hub but I now believe our time is now and the team and I at TechWM will lead that charge.”
TechWM’s flagship event, Birmingham Tech Week, will take place this week from 16-20 October, bringing thousands to the region and showcasing the innovative tech solutions being pioneered in the West Midlands. For more information, visit https://birminghamtechweek.com/