London and the South East continues to be the leading hub for UK technology businesses.
But businesses can’t sit back and relax, with a host of regional hubs hot on their tail.
According to our latest lending figures, lending to technology, media and telecoms companies in London and the South East grew by 15.5% in the year to May.
However, lending in the South West jumped nearly 60% with areas in the North and Midlands not far behind.
Figures show that although London and the South East is still a way ahead in terms of overall lending figures, other regions are catching up, with a hive of lending activity in the past 12 months.
Software companies continue to represent the largest proportion of high growth businesses as they help businesses to automate, improve efficiency and productivity. This isn’t a new sector (Microsoft is 42 years old this year) but what is often missed is how relevant software development remains for today’s digital economy and how much room is left for growth.
Cyber security is undoubtedly one of the biggest risk factors for most businesses as they transform digitally. Only this week, we have seen more ransomware attacks so there is huge potential for further growth and innovation in that space.
And finally unified comms (UC) businesses which help businesses digitalise and unify their communications strategies. SME businesses in particular are doing well in this space – taking advantage of their ability to tailor services for a customer’s needs where larger businesses struggle with their higher cost to service model.
The role of universities in the region’s growth can not be overstated, with high levels of research and development into innovation across the fields of communications, robotic autonomous systems and digital entertainment. And we’re lucky to be able to work with some of the bright sparks of tomorrow through our partnership with university incubators.
In June, we joined forces with RocketSpace to open their first technology campus in the UK. Housed in NatWest’s Regent’s House in London, the campus will be home to around 1,500 high-tech, high-growth companies.
As they scale up their business, the tech companies will benefit not only from office space and a collaborative environment, but also global access to RocketSpace’s unique community and services.
RocketSpace (pictured right) has worked with more than 1,000 tech scale-ups since it was founded in 2011, including some of the most recognisable names in technology such as Uber, Spotify and Blippa.
Our partnership with RocketSpace further strengthens the bank’s support to the technology sector, which remains an important growth area for the UK.
Over the past two and a half years, the bank has been helping new businesses, including many tech start-ups, through the Entrepreneurial Spark powered by NatWest programme, which is also due to open a London hub in August this year.
The programme has supported a total of 1,736 companies, raised £151m of investment and created 3,152 jobs, and will be a great addition to the London technology space.
It’s not hard to see why London and the South East continues to lead on all things technology, and with the government’s continued investment in the Golden Triangle of London, Oxford and Cambridge, it’s unlikely they will be surpassed by another city.
And there has never been a better time to start up a technology business.
Thanks to new technology you can literally set up a business from your smart phone on your kitchen table – so getting a business started has never been cheaper or easier. There are also so many ways to use other people’s technology to scale up your business – like through the cloud – so opportunity and potential is unlimited.