The report highlights a set of interesting statistics. Empirically, we know Cambridge is one of the largest if not the largest, research centre in the UK and one of the best in the world. To that end, it seems to me that the report is significantly underestimating the amount and nature of the digital economy of Cambridge and the East of England as a whole. With two large Universities providing a consistent flow of talent, a multitude of formal and informal support structures and advice, as well as mature and thriving funding alternatives, Cambridge is probably the best place in the country to start the business.
While I largely accept the major challenges stated in the report, I would add that the major difficulty facing us in Cambridge is finding the right office space to house a 100% p.a. growth business. While this is easy in the incubator space, once you cross 100 employees, this becomes a real challenge.
I’d like to see a more detailed report, breaking down businesses by type and highlighting the regional challenges and differences. Arcus Global are in the field of Cloud Technology and software development, and our advantages and challenges are not necessarily shared or correlated to a business that deals with Gene Therapy, or indeed a hardware and engineering business such as ARM or Apple. Thus, I believe there would be a set of interesting statistics to be derived if the nature of business would be taken into account.
Indeed, the latter part of the report, showing a more detailed profiling of the technology businesses does highlight Cambridge as one of the leading centres in the UK, ahead of London, and second only to Reading and Bracknell. It would perhaps be interesting to distinguish between businesses grown and started in the UK and larger multinationals, based on the different contributions they make to the UK economy and tax base. Here I feel that Cambridge and East of England would easily take first place.