Heavyweights get behind Birmingham Tech Week as sector investment grows
Posted on October 6, 2020 by Jonathan Symcox
VC investment in Birmingham grew significantly in 2019 – and Birmingham Tech Week intends to highlight the city’s success this month.
Birmingham Tech Week, running digitally from 12-16th October, has announced big-name partners and speakers from across the tech, business and political spectrum after Tech Nation stats revealed 19.5 per cent year-on-year growth from £22m in 2018 to £27.4m in 2019.
The largest regional technology festival in the UK, with over 5,000 attendees last year, is this year backed by the government as the Department for International Trade is an official partner alongside Tech Nation, Enterprise Nation and headline sponsor NatWest.
Adrian Joseph OBE, BT’s Managing Director of AI and Data Solutions and the Financial Times’ most influential BAME tech leader; Emma Jones MBE, Founder and CEO of Enterprise Nation; and Bjoern Hirtenjohann, UK Public Sector CTO at Microsoft have been lined up as speakers.
Other notable speaker additions include those from Google, the ScaleUp Institute and National Express.
Gordon Merrylees, Managing Director of Entrepreneurship at NatWest, said: “Technology has a vital role to play in all of our lives, and without question recent events have demonstrated just how necessary digital adoption has become in our day to day lives with many of us now working remotely.
“We know that tech businesses will be central to the UK’s economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic, and it’s absolutely critical that we all work together to support these entrepreneurs. NatWest’s Business Builder, Entrepreneur Accelerator and Fintech Accelerator programmes are offered free of charge to support this crucial segment, helping these businesses start, scale and succeed.
“Birmingham Tech Week demonstrates how important industry collaboration is in the sector, and we look forward to seeing the new ideas and innovations that come out of it.”
Tech Nation’s stats also indicate that Birmingham’s tech sector boasts a diverse workforce, with 26 per cent of tech workers BAME, compared to a 15 per cent average.
Adrian Joseph, BT MD Group Data and AI Solutions, added: “Birmingham, and the wider West Midlands, has a growing tech sector and there is also a focus on adoption of digital technologies in the region, which is really positive for the future. Birmingham Tech Week is a fantastic opportunity for collaboration and ideas generation.
“I’m passionate about the three D’s – Data, and how we turn this into actionable insight, often using AI, that drives business and societal value; Digital transformation; and Diversity and inclusion. These three D’s are interrelated and have become significantly more important amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and the issues surrounding racial equality. I believe that AI is a tremendous force for good if managed safely and ethically.”
The week is free-to-attend and gives access to experts and thought-leaders who will share knowledge on subjects such as business culture, customer experience and how to start and scale up a tech business.
Yiannis Maos, Founder of Birmingham Tech Week, said: “Birmingham Tech Week always aimed at putting the West Midlands tech scene on a pedestal, attracting national attention and serving as a vehicle to connect West Midlands tech start-ups and scale-ups with potential investors and big institutions.
“To have speakers from some of the biggest tech players in the world in Google, Microsoft and Amazon, alongside UK heavyweights BT, makes me confident that this will be the best Birmingham Tech Week yet.
“The support shown by UK Government and other national organisations such as NatWest, Tech Nation and Enterprise Nation shows how far we’ve come – alongside the ongoing regional support from the West Midlands Growth Company, West Midlands Combined Authority and Birmingham’s universities. A big thank you to all our partners and sponsors.
“If you haven’t already, sign-up and get involved.”
During the week a number of topics will be discussed such as 5G, FinTech, Smart Cities and Artificial Intelligence. People wishing to attend can do so by registering here: https://2020.birminghamtechweek.com/