Thames Valley: Tech sector is core driver of region’s recovery

The Thames Valley’s high growth tech sector will be a core driver of the region’s economic recovery, according to new research from consultancy Beauhurst.

Its COVID-19 Business Impact report showed that nearly 20% of tech businesses (19%) have been positively impacted as a result of the COVID-19 crisis:14% cited a “surge in demand”. Meanwhile, 23% reported a “moderate” negative impact, with just 5% saying they were “critically” affected.

Tech community remains strongest part of UK economy

Partnering with tech and digital platform ConnectTVT, Beauhurst’s report found the Thames Valley following London as the region with the highest number of positively impacted business. Tech-led sectors that enable remote working – VoIP, EdTech, eHealth and digital security – are seeing a rise in demand. The country’s extremities, primarily the South West and devolved region are the most negatively impacted.

An analysis of the region’s response to the pandemic shows that 19% of the 2,000 businesses surveyed have limited their physical services. Seven per cent have had to further limit their service or product with the same figure losing a main customer group.

Investment key to future success

Elsewhere, Beauhurst’s report found that 22% of jobs (615,000) in the high-growth economy are immediately under threat. Additionally, investment capital is on shaky ground with £18.9b of equity investment at moderate to critical risk.

Louize Clarke, founder of ConnectTVT, said: “These findings are reassuring only in the short-term. Looking ahead, we know the region is heavily reliant on investment – 69% of the Thames Valley’s scale-ups have used equity funding to grow since 2011. With this lifeline under threat, businesses will need support elsewhere to be able to hold onto teams, innovation and any chance of growth.”

Henry Whorwood, Beauhurst’s head of research & consultancy, added: “These firms will be integral to the UK’s productivity as we enter recovery, so it’s crucial interventions proposed by the Government reach these companies.”