How the city region can ‘level up’ its tech sector

Tech entrepreneur and leader of the local StartUp Grind entrepreneur community, Jonny Clark, says tech needs to be at the heart of the levelling up agenda

Jonny Clark
Jonny Clark, co-founder of GDPR Defender and director of Startup Grind

 

A few weeks ago the Liverpool City Region All-Party Parliamentary Group unveiled its Plan for Prosperity in response to the government’s Levelling Up white paper.

Disappointingly, mentions of the opportunities within the nascent Liverpool city region tech sector were scant. Here, I offer up three practical solutions for how we could level up tech in the Liverpool City Region:

Connectivity

There are two major tech clusters in Liverpool: the Baltic Creative CIC, the second-fastest growing cluster in the UK, and Sci-Tech Daresbury campus, home to more than 400 innovative businesses.

However, other than driving, there is no easy way to get to Daresbury and there is no connectivity between the two. We need to get our talented graduates into Daresbury and many of them don’t have cars. An easy way to address this would be to initiate private transport between these two key hubs.

Attract more roadshows from big tech companies 

Liverpool has traditionally lagged behind cities such as Manchester when it comes to attracting big ‘platform’ tech companies such as Amazon, MoneySupermarket, BT, Sky and Autotrader.

Major companies such as this tend to attract talent for three to four years, who may then go on to do something more interesting, such as start their own business. But we don’t need to have these companies in permanent residence as long as we have readily available access to what they offer.

The  next best thing would be access to roadshows or virtual programmes such as Google Garage, encouraging and equipping the next generation of entrepreneurs in Liverpool to take the plunge.

Brand narrative

We have affordable housing, a good quality of life and lifestyle amenities. Why shouldn’t Liverpool be a go-to destination for innovative tech startups and ambitious entrepreneurs of the hybrid working age?

People don’t want to be cooped up in skyscrapers anymore – they want a lifestyle choice but still need connectivity, economy and a place that people can get to. Liverpool fits this bill.

READ MORE: Mersey start-ups can access Silicon Valley support

And yet, Liverpool suffers from a poor image, both nationally and internally. Our brand narrative needs to change and this has to happen from within. We need all of our civic leaders to sign up to the idea of our city being full of entrepreneurs and be able to explain the benefits to the people of Liverpool who can become our own best advocates.

Jonny Clark is the co-founder of GDPR Defender, a tech investor a leader of Liverpool’s Startup Grind tech entrepreneur community.

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