You may have read recently that TechSPARK, working alongside our colleagues within the UK Tech Cluster Group, hosted a Roadmap to Recovery summit.

With incredibly short notice we pulled together the event and I’m delighted to say that over 400 key public policy makers came to co-design plans to help the tech sector grow as part of the UK’s economic recovery, and to show how digital can accelerate the recovery of other sectors too. 

What was clear from the event was that tech will be central to developing a resilient, sustainable and inclusive economy and we want to make sure our community is at the forefront of that. 

Like TechSPARK, the founding members of the UKTCG are grassroots tech communities from across the UK. In the last few months, we’ve upped our collaboration but it’s clearer than ever that through working together, and sharing, we can release awesome potential in our ecosystems.

We had some brilliant speakers on the day including cluster leaders from UK tech hotspots, Ministers, Mayors, policy leaders, leading CEOs and international investors. It was particularly good to see Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport keynoting the event. 

During his speech, the Minister announced that the government will be publishing a new digital strategy in Autumn and that ‘tech must play an important part in our recovery’. As an organisation embedded in the Bristol & Bath tech community, it was heartening to hear him reiterate the government’s commitment to engage with regional grassroots tech communities to ‘power growth and productivity across the whole of our United Kingdom’.

Whilst it’s encouraging to hear this commitment, to paraphrase one of our other speakers, the government (both locally and nationally) can make the most impact by leaning in. We’re in a crisis and to support businesses we need to move fast. We also need to be able to target support quickly and effectively. 

Rather than endlessly consulting or recreating support that already exists, now more than ever, the government needs to supercharge the people at the coal face who already have the knowledge, commitment and community to make a change. I hope we see that in the next few months and the lessons we’re writing up from the event will be a key part of the journey. 

Ben Shorrock

Ben has been working to help grow tech and digital business for the last decade. He is currently the MD of TechSPARK the Southwest’s network for tech startups and scale ups working with 25,000 people a month to help them recruit, network and raise capital in the UK’s most productive Tech cluster (TechNation 2019). He sits on the boards of the UK Tech Cluster Group, Bristol’s ONce City Economy Board, Tech Swindon, Tech Southwest and is a co-founder of Bristol Tech Festival. Prior to working for TechSPARK, Ben worked in consultancy with businesses opening new sites internationally. In this role, he helped set up Invest Bristol & Bath and the Netherlands consulate for the north of England.