With an abundance of local businesses and startups focused on the digital economy and a local government that’s investing in digital growth, Nottingham’s digital future is looking good.
Nottingham Growth Plan
In 2012, Nottingham City Council announced the Nottingham Growth Plan. This plan set out ambitious targets for the future of Nottingham, focused around growing the local economy over the next ten years.
The plan targets certain aspects for growth: digital content, lifesciences and clean technology. From our perspective, digital content is one of the most accessible to most.
Digital content and Nottingham
Digital content is a broad term. The UK Government classes businesses that are ‘principally delivering technology aided digital output’ as those in the sector of digital content.
Some of the main activities it covers are:
- Film and photography
- Radio and TV
- Computer games
- Social media
- Software that supports these industries and the telecommunications sector.
While many of us that work and live in Nottingham know that this industry is thriving, we’ve dug up some statistics just to prove the point.
As of 2012, 6,400 people worked in the digital content sector in Nottingham – that’s 3.5% of the total number of people employed in Nottingham.
While this might not seem much, it’s well above the national average (besides London, of course).
Education and digital growth
Alongside the people already employed in the digital content sector, there are a big numbers that come to, and are from, the city of Nottingham studying related courses.
Nottingham Trent University alone has over 15,000 students in around 30 digital content-related courses, with stats showing that an awful lot of these people stick around after they graduate.
In other parts of the city, New College Nottingham (NCN) has 400 or so students doing related courses from levels 2-6.
A little way down the road, Confetti Media Group (based in Antenna) is a hub for all digital-related business and education (apprenticeships etc.) activity.
Of course, it helps to have the proper technology and systems in place to support this activity.
Investment in digital infrastructure
As part of the Nottingham Growth Plan digital infrastructure is receiving some love.
After a slow start, 2014 saw the ball start rolling on a ‘Super-Connected Nottingham’, the joining up of government and business to improve digital connectivity in the city. Main initiatives are:
- Wireless Nottingham – providing free public Wi-Fi access across the city centre
- Open Access – fibre optic cable being installed in the city’s ducting network, providing a ‘digital corridor’ of enhanced connectivity
- Ultraband – a pilot programme helping SMEs access ultrafast broadband
- Upgrading of connectivity in the Creative Quarter
This investment is essential to staying competitive in a globalised and connected world, and it shows that Nottingham is thinking about the future.
It is almost poignant the Creative Quarter, situated in the Lace Market with deep historical roots of making and designing, is now playing host to the digital wave of design and content creation.
The Creative Quarter
The Creative Quarter now houses over 2000 creative businesses, both digital and non-digital. It’s the home of Nottingham’s independent and alternative spirit – a fitting location for Nottingham’s digital growth.
With creative hubs such as Antenna, Cobden Chambers, Broadway, Rough Trade, and many more located here, it’s an exciting place that has definitely benefitted from the Nottingham Growth Plan.
It’s an example of how digital investment can create real, sustainable, local growth and it’s a sign of the future that Nottingham is heading towards.
Nottingham is embracing all things digital and investing in the local business community. Exciting times are ahead for all of us digital businesses!