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Going Global: Birmingham Tech Week 2022

08/11/2022 minute read Gordon Wilson

Advanced delivers its commitment to helping West Midlands become globally recognised tech hub

Advanced joined forces with Birmingham Tech Week recently to announce its commitment to the West Midland’s tech growth ambitions as it confirmed it would be relocating its corporate HQ to Birmingham’s Mailbox from Ditton Park in Berkshire.

Advanced’s CEO Gordon Wilson’s keynote speech at Birmingham Tech Week’s Leadership Breakfast outlined the success the company has had since it opened its regional hub in the West Midlands during 2016, growing to more than 500 registered employees. Describing the recent move of its HQ to The Mailbox in Birmingham, Gordon explained that the company’s access to great talent and the vibrancy and energy of the workforce has made a real difference to productivity. By relocating its corporate HQ to this thriving tech community, Advanced is well placed, said Gordon, to take advantage of, and contribute to, this region, home to the UK’s fastest growing technology cluster and world-class R&D infrastructure. 

With over 5,000 people attending this year’s event themed, “Going Global”, Birmingham Tech Week is now the UK’s largest regional tech festival and conference, to underline its commitment to the region, Advanced’s senior team were involved in a range of events throughout the week. 

Opening the event, Yiannis Maos, Founder and CEO of Birmingham Tech Week, along with West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, outlined the key role of the tech sector in generating economic development for the city and region.  He outlined the need for VC funding, the tremendous investment opportunities and collaboration within the West Midlands ecosystem, and the support provided by the latter as well as by organisations such as the West Midlands Growth Company to accelerate the relocation and settling of investors to the city. The pair also argued why Birmingham is such a great place to establish and grow a tech business - the opportunities from an inward investment perspective which places Birmingham ahead of any other city in the UK - largely due to the great programme around Commonwealth Games and the importance of digital skills.

Advanced’s Chief Marketing Officer, Sally Scott, was one of five tech sector expert panellists at a discussion hosted by the West Midlands Growth Company. Attended by international tech leaders, the event exhibited the West Midland’s world-class tech sector as a desirable location for international investors and demonstrated the value of joining the UK’s fastest growing technology cluster. Targeted primarily at tech start-ups and scale-ups, the discussion entitled, “How can locating in the West Midlands help your start-up/scale-up go global?” was led by Matt Robinson, Head of Nations & Regions at TechUK. It looked at how the region is considered a UK leader in emerging technologies, the depth of tech talent in the West Midlands and the world-class R&D infrastructure across the region. Nourish and CyberQ were cited as excellent examples of global start-ups who began life in Birmingham and Advanced explained how it is maximising the advantages of the diverse local talent pool, focussing on developing its people and encouraging internal mobility to create career opportunities. 

Advanced also hosted a Business Hackathon for local IT, Business, Fashion and Graphics students from Birmingham’s BMet College to discuss career pathways and the importance of data and security.  Winners were invited to a glittering black tie Awards Dinner at the end of the week where the best of the West Midland’s talent was highlighted and rewarded.

Advanced’s Chief Product Officer, Amanda Grant was also invited to be a panellist, at an event entitled, “Scaling Up - what investors need to know and do to grow the UK’s tech ecosystems,” hosted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The panel shared ideas on boosting tech innovation and growth. Insights from the discussion will be used to form a policy suggestion document called “The West Midlands Tech Ecosystem Speaks.” Participants addressed the need for increased awareness of the investment opportunities in the region, the tax benefits of Investing, and simplifying regulation. 

Wrapping up the week focusing on diversity and inclusion across the region, Advanced’s Marianne West, Head of Talent Experience, joined a roundtable to discuss the digital skills gap, as part of an initiative from the University of Birmingham, PwC and Tech She Can. 

The initiative is designed to inspire and support young people across Birmingham and beyond to improve their digital skills by creating a unique, accessible and free offering. This includes partnerships across the West Midlands to develop digital skills and discovering how organisations can get more funding to build digital skills. Marianne highlighted how Advanced emphasises the importance of having a diverse workforce.

Commenting on its success, Gordon Wilson concluded; “Birmingham Tech Week attracts international delegates over five days with 100 different speakers from across the tech community and over 50 partners.  This this year we heard loudly and clearly why this region is fast becoming the UK’s digital epicentre. We’re excited to be part of this unique and vibrant region and the huge prospect for tech growth the West Midlands offers.”