THE Welsh Government’s flagship technology event, Digital 2014, continues today in Newport, following the announcement last night of a number of major new projects to boost the ICT and digital sectors across Wales.
Today will mark the first ever Digital Tuesday Club, whereby the Celtic Manor will give free space over to start-ups and businesses from the area to meet up, talk technology and share ideas each month. Already making waves in north America, the concept of the club is for the burgeoning digital community in Wales to harness ideas together and create lucrative partnerships.
It was also announced that a Digital Innovation Centre will be coming to Newport city centre, a new technology hub which will be built as part of the regeneration of the city through the Welsh Government’s reNewport programme. It will aim to house and support growing technology SMEs in the area and be complete with state of the art digital facilities.
Negotiations are at an advanced stage to purchase offices near Newport city centre to provide flexible accommodation for start ups, SMEs and growth companies to overcome the current lack of capacity to attract inward investors and allow development of clusters.
Taking place today, the focus turns to industry with leading technology experts from global organisations including Microsoft, Cisco and Telefonica, along with local businesses such as Swansea’s We Predict sharing their expertise on how cutting edge technologies including cloud, mobility, analytics and big data are having a transformative impact on businesses across the globe. Recent studies report that optimisation of cloud computing and big data alone will create over a quarter of a million jobs in the UK by 2015/17.
Keynote speakers include Sir Terry Matthews, David Cleevely from Centre for Science & Policy, University of Cambridge and David Hieatt, co-founder of HiutDenim, who is behind a new business start-up fund in Cardigan.
Sir Terry Matthews, chairman of Wesley Clover and Founder of the Digital Tuesday Club, said: “I know what it’s like to be a technology entrepreneur when the opportunity to step away from your work and talk with like-minded people can spark the next big idea.
“Digital Tuesdays have created this space for businesses in North America and the economy has prospered. That’s what we’re certain will happen here in Newport and I’m thrilled the Welsh Government and Celtic Manor are supporting the venture here in Wales.”
Tom Kelly, chairman of the Welsh Government’s ICT Sector Panel, which is leading the event, said: “We’re delighted to have brought such a line-up of world leading experts here to Wales to inspire the next generation of tech businesses. Last year, a young man in the audience was spurred on to change the direction of his own business, Big Click, and their app development company now employs five people in Penrhys. We’re very hopeful that more success stories will be created from Digital 2014.
“This would demonstrate to Welsh businesses the enabling nature of ICT technology, and help them position a digital culture at the centre of their business strategies which will be key to securing Wales’ economic future.
Digital 2014 will let the world know that Wales is a nation that’s truly open for business.”