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Building on Success: SuperTech Sets Out Multi-Year Plan To Accelerate West Midlands Economic Growth

The West Midlands is said to have the fastest-growing tech sector in the UK, valued at £15.3billion in 2023 according to the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). Looking to ensure this continued success, Whitecap, the strategy and commercial consultancy, has supported SuperTech, the UK’s professional services tech (proftech) supercluster in the development of a multi-year plan to serve businesses and consumers in the region.

This roadmap aligns with the vision and national agenda for long-term prosperity in the UK as set out in the recent spring budget. The government’s Smart Data Roadmap further reinforced this. All outline the growth and importance of using data-led, digital activities to deliver productivity and high-value jobs across key sectors including:

  • banking
  • energy
  • finance
  • home buying
  • retail
  • telecommunications
  • transport
Hilary Smyth-Allen, SuperTech executive lead
Hilary Smyth-Allen, executive lead, SuperTech

Hilary Smyth-Allen, SuperTech executive lead, commented on the roadmap saying: “Globally we are on the brink of a new era for professional services technology. Especially as the requirements for smart, accelerated service provisioning in areas such as finance, home living and mobility are pushed forward by innovation and demand.

“This roadmap is not just about improved transformation and ambition, it is a unique, multi-year plan of joined-up initiatives that will fully enable and serve businesses, consumers and investors in the West Midlands and beyond.

“The adoption of a combined framework that reflects the priorities of businesses and university capabilities, suggests a potential  impact of over 4,600 regional jobs and the addition of £1.5billon to the regional economy in 10 years. Cross-sector engagement is at the heart of the roadmap and the delivery of all activities.”

Breaking down changes over the next decade

Looking at the next decade, the roadmap particularly focuses on the generation of jobs and economic growth in an area. Currently, it has over 50,000 active businesses, professional and financial services (BPFS) businesses. The region also employs 350,000, contributing £28billion GVA annually.

The UK’s digital and business, professional and financial services sectors have outpaced the growth of the UK economy over the last few years and the West Midlands’ professional services sector is nationally and internationally recognised as significant to this achievement.

SuperTech is the UK’s first professional services technology (proftech). This encompasses fintech, proptech, legaltech and insurtech – areas analysed in the roadmap.

Fintech is estimated to generate over £470million in GVA in-region. Meanwhile, 43 per cent of all regional proftech businesses have a specific focus on property and proptech. Additionally, legaltech is fast emerging nationally – notably in Birmingham.

Stephen Browning, challenge director – next generation services Innovate UK UKRI
Stephen Browning, challenge director – next generation services Innovate UK UKRI

Stephen Browning, challenge director, Next Generation Services Innovate UK UKRI, added: “Whether they are global employers or early start-ups, professional companies have always flourished in the West Midlands. The region is at the heart of business and technology innovation in the UK. This roadmap introduces an exhilarating prospect for an area that is poised to transform the impact of professional services technology on the advancing needs of consumers, communities and businesses.“

Critical areas of focus

The roadmap presents analysis and planned activities drawn from over 150 hours of consultation with industry, academia and proftech stakeholders. Participants reviewed existing and emerging trends relevant to professional services and proftech from a regional, national and global perspective.

Results uniquely target the joined-up adoption and use of proftech to drive prosperity and improve social outcomes.

Four themes are identified as critical focus areas for innovation and research in and from the West Midlands. These are:

  •  productivity
  • open data
  • sustainability
  • inclusion
  • wellness
Ezechi Britton MBE, CEO of The Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT)
Ezechi Britton MBE, CEO of The Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT)

Driven by a commitment to these areas, the blueprint is an actionable programme of targeted initiatives to address challenges and opportunities through the collaborative work of industry participants (start-ups to large corps) and educational institutions from across the West Midlands.

Ezechi Britton MBE, CEO of The Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT), said: “Through our own work we know the immense advancement potential of open data. By aligning this with productivity, sustainability, inclusion and wellness as critical focus areas for identified initiatives, this integrated roadmap sets out a successful path for consumer and business enablement in the West Midlands and the wider economy.“

Looking to the future
Chris Hayward, policy chairman of the City of London Corporation
Chris Hayward, policy chairman of the City of London Corporation

Chris Hayward, policy chairman of the City of London Corporation, added: “In a global financial marketplace, the entire country needs to be working together: where the Square Mile succeeds, the West Midlands succeeds, and vice versa.

“Our relationship reflects our shared vision in technology, recognising that technology is central to both national economic growth and the continuing global strength of British financial and professional services. It is critical that the UK continues to be at the forefront of the digital agenda. The SuperTech roadmap provides an actionable programme. This is in addition to a golden opportunity to celebrate and build on the many national and regional achievements.”

Author

  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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