The Cambridge – Norwich tech corridor

There are some fantastic businesses throughout our region. The idea of the tech corridor is to help companies collaborate, share ideas and grow together. The breadth of ideas and talent is astonishing, tackling some of the big issues of our time.

Linn Clabburn is Programme Director for the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor for the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership. The Tech corridor is a partnership between the New Anglia LEP as well as a range of public sector partners, district and county councils, and numerous other stakeholders to include businesses and research institutions.

Here’s a summary of our recent podcast and if you want to listen to the real thing (and why wouldn’t you!) catch it here: What is the Cambridge & A11; Norwich Tech Corridor? Linn Clabburn explains all!

There are lots of businesses along the dual carriageway between Cambridge and Norwich. The partnership was really set up on the back of the fact we’ve had 100 million pounds of investment from central government. So now how do we drive economic growth, inclusive economic growth along this geography. Even though it is along the A11 dual carriageway, it’s much broader in its remit.

The tech corridor initiative is about linking up and telling the clear story and narrative of all the businesses, research and all the other assets that we have in the corridor area. This includes all those smaller market towns and areas along the corridor, not just Cambridge and Norwich.

Unassuming Sheds

And what’s been really interesting in this last year is to go in and actually see all these different businesses that we have. It’s been a real eye-opener to go into these unassuming sheds, and just find amazing companies that fly under the radar for most people. And that’s part of what the tech corridor is here to do. It’s about taking all of these companies, bringing them together on a platform where we can enhance them and put them in place them within a narrative that is actually of global importance in many ways. So enhancing them in terms of joining the dots. Because I think that if you start looking at the tech corridor as, as an area, the whole list is greater than the sum of the parts.

Agri-tech

People wouldn’t necessarily Google Norfolk but they will look for a cluster such as agri-tech or similar type of sector. That’s where we really focusing our attention.  Making sure that we have that narrative and that those capabilities really clearly mapped out so that when someone puts agri-tech into Google, this region comes up top. Everyone knows then that this is the best place to be for foreign agri-tech business. Which is actually true as our region is world class in that sector.

We have a large chunk of a private sector representation on our delivery board. I always remember that it is the businesses, whether they’re here now or coming into the region, they are really our key customer. So supplying them with the things that they need, that’s what we’re here for. And I think that we need a less public sector approach to do that.

The good news is we have had a lot of very, very positive reactions. I think there’s a lot of businesses in particular in the north Suffolk end of the corridor really shouting out for somewhere where they can use this platform to enhance their image. Interestingly even in Cambridge, as Cambridge can be a little bit different, we have some really good feedback from businesses. They’re saying we’re actually really, really interested in understanding what’s going on up your way (in Norfolk and Suffolk).  One company very involved in the Cambridge cluster came up to Hethel Engineering in Norfolk, and his reaction was ‘Wow, you guys make stuff! Whereas in Cambridge we think about things and come up with all these weird and wonderful inventions. You’re going to actually make it, you make it happen.”

Calling Cambridge!

That’s what we need to communicate to Cambridge is when you ready to make stuff, come over here, come this way!  There is loads of talent in terms of manufacturing but also software, the whole value chain we have them covered. So that’s really what we’re trying to do, not in any way reduce the positive impacts in Cambridge. Instead of having all of the dividends generated in Cambridge go to Eastern Europe or the far east, we have a very credible opportunity and option to collaborate with businesses and networks much closer to home.

Stronger Together

I think the two areas have a lot to offer to each other to be mutually to support those lot of complimenting assets and skillsets. I think together we’re much stronger as region than if we’re trying to separate us out as separate counties. And you know, at the end of the day, businesses don’t really care about county and district lines. They go where the opportunities are.

We might not have Airbnb here and we might not have the latest takeaway food app. But what we are developing are the things that are really going to make a difference in the world. We are actually sitting in the middle of the potential solution to some of the world’s biggest challenges.

Events

We hold numerous events to link and bring everybody together. We are planning one around the supply and value chain, bringing companies together, not just the manufacturing supply chain.  It’s the whole value chain. If you as a company are looking for a new solution, you might not have the time or a big procurement team who can go and find it for you. Come to us and we will use all of our networks that we’re part of to help.  We can organise speed dating where we bring a number of companies to you. You can tell them what your challenges and they can help solve that challenge.

Check out the website: http://www.techcorridor.co.uk

Or email

linn.clabburn@newanglia.co.uk

You can check all our podcasts entirely relevant to our business community here: BGC Free Knowledge