EY was delighted to support ConnectTVT as it unveiled its latest cohort of 50 Game Changers in the Thames Valley. For the second year, the platform joining the tech and digital dots across the region, has brought together the tech and powerhouses of tomorrow. The 50 Game Changers seeks to consolidate the pipeline for tech and digital economy in the region. Earlier this year, the Tech Nation Report showed that, outside of London, Reading has the UK’s highest digital turnover, at £12.5 billion, writes Antonia Taylor.
New pillar of tech business
Working with Oracle, ConnectTVT and EY collaborated with regional incubators and accelerators, universities and investors to collate this year’s 50 Game Changers. The cohort includes early stage start-ups such as Fungry, the take-away food ratings platform and Primal Pantry, the disruptive clean eating snack brand, through to established, fast-growing scale-ups such as Artesian.
50 Game Changer alumni
This year saw the 50 Game Changers’ first alumni in the shape of Sage People. Previously Fairsail, the fastest-growing B2B tech business in the UK was acquired by Sage in March 2017 for £115 million. The scale-up moves to the new Thames Valley Science Park later this year, pledging its long-term commitment to the region.
As ConnectTVT founder Louize Clarke explains: “People always ask me what makes a Game Changer –it’s not about highest turnover companies but those championing change. We need to encourage a diverse mix of businesses across our innovation layers. There’s so much more work to do, starting with more affordable incubation space. That’s how we’ll continue to create the next Fairsails here.”
Next gen Game Changers
EY’s region and city economic forecast predicts that the Thames Valley is expected to grow by 2.1% annual Gross Value Added (GVA) until 2019, ahead of London’s 1.9% and the UK average of 1.5%. Reading is set to be the UK’s fastest-growing city in this period, with 2.5% GVA growth until 2019.
Richard Baker, EY’s managing partner in the Thames Valley, said: “Although the Thames Valley may have a positive long-term track record in terms of its competitiveness as a UK region, it has done so without having a conscious plan. Now is the time for government, third parties and the local business community to collaborate to create a unified strategy, to retain that position as well as foster and attract the next generation of Game Changers.”
We’re taking first steps towards this, supporting ConnectTVT’s Start-Up Exchange programme. We wanted to consolidate the impact of 50 Game Changers and seeking out creative ways to cross-pollinate our thriving start-up community with our corporate partners. Our vision is to bring start-ups and corporates together to connect, brainstorm and solve a shared problem. Collaborating, bringing together different perspectives and presenting co-created solutions back is one of the ways we believe we can strengthen that connectivity and sustained partnership between these communities.
Our first Start-Up Exchange tackled skills challenges in the Thames Valley. We had representatives from Sage People, SAP Ariba, Thames Water and Hays as well as 50 Game Changers such as Enswarm, Work In Confidence and Sponsure, all working together to create a roadmap to ensure the region grows, develops and retains the best in creative, digital and tech talent. We’re already planning our next event and will be exploring a range of themes that we consider important to all participants. With ConnectTVT, we would love to open this up to like-minded partners from across the eco-system so please do get involved.