East Anglia in 2016 is a growing hub for digital technology. My own city of Norwich is now officially a ‘Tech City’. A fine title which acknowledges the digital employment of over 14,000. 3 million pounds is being invested in Norwich’s growing creative digital industries, including £1.5 million for the Digital Centre for Innovation at Norwich University of the Arts.
In November I welcomed Digital Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe to Norwich for a tech round-table, hosted by Proxama at WhiteSpace. This provided an ideal opportunity to update the Government on the latest developments, talent and excellence in East Anglia’s tech community, but also to discuss what more needs to done to overcome the challenges our region will face. We need better infrastructure, sensible legislation, a look at cybercrime, and investment in skills. I also urge readers to think about what a digital society means for our democracy.
I hope that digital leaders can take up every one of these challenges. You will have my full support from Parliament where I aim to raise the key issues and promote everything that the East of England has to offer.
We also need to encourage young people across East Anglia to use their skills, imagination and initiative to get in on this exciting industry. Sync the City, the three day marathon of start-up building held annually in Norwich, is an example of just what can be achieved. We’ll need to keep on investing in digital skills to ensure our young people are equipped to compete in a global economy – and let’s also do all we can regionally to encourage our young people into an exciting and clean digital career, in the light of one Norwich teenager having been arrested in connection to the Talk Talk hack!
Going forward, the challenges of a digital future are real, but it is also a tremendously exciting time for our region and a project which I am proud to be involved in.