London-Aerial-view-of-The-Shard-River-Thames-and-Tower-Bridge.-Credit-VisitBritain©Jason-Hawkes.jpg
Aerial view of The Shard, River Thames and Tower Bridge, London, England (Credit: VisitBritain ©Jason Hawkes)

Shape the Future of Events

One of the most innovative countries in the world, according to the Global Innovation Index 2021, the UK has a long history of innovation and commitment to world-leading research and development. Besides investing £14.9 billion on research and development over the last year, the UK has supported collaboration among industry and academic communities across the Catapult Centres, independent technology and innovation centres that provides infrastructure and technical facilities, specialist knowledge, network and business support.

Over the last years, the tech industry in the UK has been going through great development progress. Between 2011 and 2021, the number of British unicorns has expanded tenfold. Additionally, the British technology sector grew 2.3 times between 2020 and 2021, drawing a record £29.4 billion in investment – a third of the total invested in tech companies in Europe.

According to the government’s Digital Economy Council and Dealroom, fintech, food delivery, eCommerce and digital health are the current strongest sectors in the tech industry. With the growth of this industry, the UK has been closing the gap with major tech hotspots, having London being placed just behind the Bay Area, Beijing and New York in the number of startups and unicorns.

The effort to promote and support technological innovation across the country has been widely recognised. The UK features the top 10 of the World Economic Forum’s Networked Readiness Index since 2011, showing the nation’s capacity to use information and communication technology to promote growth and social wellbeing.

As the UK innovations continue to develop, discover five leading UK tech destinations that are shaping the future and attracting world leading tech events due to its thriving ecosystem:

Manchester

From splitting the atom to creating the first programmable computer, Manchester is an ambitious city widely recognised for the wealth of innovations and ideas. Located in the North West of England, Manchester has gone through a massive transformation over the years.

Manchester is a great technological innovation hub with five leading universities and exciting collaboration opportunities between the academic community and businesses. Home to more than 10,000 digital and tech businesses, Manchester has been an epicentre for startups and SMEs to global companies, including Google, Microsoft and IBM. Additionally, the city has been seeing an intensive growth in unicorns. One of the UK’s Top Digital Tech City and Europe’s fastest-growing tech cluster, Manchester’s strongest sectors include eCommerce, cyber security, AI and data, gaming, digital health and software development.

Manchester-MediaCityUK-on-the-banks-of-the-Manchester-Ship-Canal-in-Salford-and-Trafford-Greater-Manchester.-Credit-Julian-Elliott.
MediaCityUK on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal in Salford and Trafford, Greater Manchester.

Manchester is a leading conference destination with award-winning venues and highly connected to major domestic and international hubs by its international airport and train stations. Find out more about what Manchester can offer to your future events.

Edinburgh

The second-largest financial centre in the UK, Edinburgh is also a leading digital tech cluster. Well-known for their three world-class universities and great academic work, Scotland’s has the UK’s largest technology incubator and the globally renowned School of Informatics.

Edinburgh-Edinburgh-Castle-taken-from-Camera-Obscura-amp-World-of-Illusions.-Credit-©VisitBritain-Shirin-Ghosh-Camera-Obscura
Edinburgh Castle taken from Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, Edinburgh, Lothian, Scotland.

Edinburgh is home to major international tech companies and unicorns such as Amazon Development Centre Scotland, Skyscanner, FanDuel and Amiqus. The city, which was accolated the second most tech-savvy town in the UK by the Google eTown Awards, has seen a growing number of second-generation entrepreneurs. After developing and having experience with startups, those entrepreneurs are looking for other business opportunities.

Edinburgh combines stunning ancient architecture and modern developments, offering conference organisers and event planners a mix of traditional, dynamic and unique venues in a world-class destination. Additionally, the city is easily accessed by train or flight, with Edinburgh Airport connecting the city to 130 domestic and international destinations.

Look how Edinburgh can shape your events.

Cardiff

With an exciting rising profile in the tech industry, Cardiff is in the top 10 of the UK’s fastest-growing tech cities, according to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. In 2021, the Welsh capital’s startups raised £39m, with 13 venture capital rounds taking place. Cardiff is a strong fintech and insurtech cluster, being home to GoCompare, Admiral, Coincover, SolasCure and to the futurecorn Sonovate.

Whilst Cardiff University’s National Software Academy is catalysing a solid software engineer talent pool; the Alacrity Foundation has been supporting graduate entrepreneurs to develop hi-tech companies. With robust infrastructure, excellent universities and competitive costs, Cardiff has become an exciting tech hub with a mix of startups, scaleups and corporates.

Located just two hours from London, Cardiff is a thriving business events destination, that offers a perfect mix of contemporary and historical properties, and a combination of coastal and countryside vibes.

Want to plan your future tech event? Check out what Cardiff has to offer.

London

For centuries, London has been the centre of global finance, with long-established and trusted banking and insurance institutions. With the massive support in financial innovation, it is easy to see how London turned into a pivotal fintech powerhouse, being home to 29 fintech unicorns and over 3,000 fintech companies, including Revolut, Monzo and Wise (former TransferWise).

Despite having a fundamental role in the UK economy, London’s technology and digital sectors have been positioning the city as the digital capital of Europe. Additionally, London was accolated the second worldwide leading destination to grow a technology business by Startup Genome on its annual Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2021. With local startups valued at $47 billion and 37% of the UK’s digital tech workforce, London is an exciting place to look at when it comes to technological innovation, especially since the pandemic outbreak. Founded in 2019 in London, Hopin, which has been transforming the era of virtual events around the world, has quickly turned into a unicorn. Yearly, the city hosts the London Tech Week, responsible for showcasing and discussing the role of tech in business and social transformation.

A world leader in business events, London offers over 1,000 diverse venues to accommodate a wide range of occasions. With an excellent transport infrastructure and more than 1,600 hotels, England capital’s expertise expands far beyond these features.

Discover here how London’s tech strength can support your event.

Birmingham

Located in West Midlands, at the heart of the UK, Birmingham was the UK’s first multi-city testbed for 5G technology. The birthplace of the steam engine in the 18th century, the x-ray for medical purpose in the 19th century and the smoke detector in 1903, Birmingham has a strong creativity and engine industry for centuries.

From its industrial background, Birmingham has turned into a notable tech cluster. Considered the country’s fastest-growing tech sector and the most prominent tech centre outside London, West Midlands are predicted to create extra 52,000 tech roles and generate £2.7 billion by 2025 according to the government report. Among the tech sector strength, the region is highly specialised in fintech, process automation, gaming, software development and immersive technology, including AI, VR and AR.

Widely-known for its ability to host major events, including the Commonwealth 2022, Birmingham is one of UK’s leading choices for business events.

Find out what Birmingham can do for your events.

Find out more about UK's business events industry

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