Ed Vaizey, minister for culture, communications and creative industries, declares the Digital Catapult Centre ‘open for business’
In the past, we’ve not been shy in our endorsements of the power of collaborative workspaces to help startups solve mutual challenges. Certainly solving some of the problems facing UK tech startups and ensuring the country is at the forefront of global innovation requires us to pull together and pool our efforts. Which is why it’s heartening to see the launch of the new Digital Catapult Centre in London, a national centre aimed at rapidly accelerating the UK’s tech efforts and offering startups the best base from which to launch future innovations.
Officially opened by last night by Ed Vaizey, minister for culture, communications and creative industries, the Digital Catapult Centre in King’s Cross is a collaboration space aimed at supporting and stimulating the nation’s tech industry. Developed by Digital Catapult, in conjunction with Innovate UK, it will act as both workspace for budding startups and an exhibition platform to allow enterprises to showcase their innovations. The centre is just the cornerstone of a planned national network with three local centres located in Sunderland, Brighton and Bradford also announced at the launch.
More collaboration and connected learning between startups can only be a good thing. But the focus of the Digital Catapult Centre extends far beyond merely forming relationships between developing startups. The centres across the UK will act as a nexus for innovators and stakeholders across from the worlds of business, academia and government, hopefully tackling some of the digital era’s greatest challenges and providing a testing ground for a new generation of solutions.
Speaking at the launch, the minister said: “It is an exciting time to be a tech business in the UK. Our digital economy is already one of the strongest markets in the world, valued at more than £100bn. Growth areas including the Internet of Things and digital creative industries are opening up a range of new opportunities for companies in the sector. The new Digital Catapult Centre will provide a thriving, state-of-the-art hub for some of the country’s most innovative digital companies and entrepreneurs.”
Designed to help digital stakeholders come together to collaborate on key development projects, the Digital Catapult Centre is targeting specific areas of tech that it feels will form the core of the UK’s future digital achievements. Its key foci will be bringing organisations together to encourage and facilitate the sharing of proprietary data, assisting with the re-use of creative content and promoting the UK’s position as a leader of the use of Internet of Things data, as well as finding ways to restore trust to consumers that are increasingly wary of the way their data is being used.
Neil Crockett, CEO of Digital Catapult, said: “We believe [proprietary data] is going to create a new wave of digital industries but is also going to transform every sector in the UK and round the world. In that amazing world of data innovation, we’ve decided to focus on helping UK businesses unlock new value from sharing proprietary data in a faster, better and more trusted way. That’s our main mission.”
Whilst the launch only marks the start of the development of the national network of Digital Catapult, it certainly seems a promising start and will hopefully not only galvanise the work of startups but the potential of the UK’s tech industry as a whole.