Meanwhile in Wales, What could part of a £850m city deal do for the digital economy ?

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by: Roger Hiscott

Director at Really Agile Marketing

The ten authorities in south east Wales have been invited to bid for a city deal, with the opportunity at the end to be given between £850m and £1bn in funding. Already won by eight cities in England, the principles of these deals are to:

•put cities in control of the economic opportunities and challenges they face as a city
•work with a city’s wider metro area – encouraging deals across the wider economic area will increase the ‘scale of deal’, meaning City Deals will reach more people through a wider geographical reach
•work across local enterprise and local authority boundaries, sectors, and professions – bringing together governments, cities, neighbouring authorities and local business leaders
•give real power to city authorities so they can create economic growth

It is pretty much assumed that some of the major infrastructure required in transport across the region will take a significant chunk of this money, however what could it do for the digital economy?

Has access to a fast internet connection become mandatory for every household and business to allow them to function in the modern world? While we continue to demand higher and higher speeds in the urban areas we have people in the more remote parts of south east Wales who cannot get an internet connection. This not only removes the opportunity for these people to start a business or work from home, but when was the last time you received a job application that wasn’t via an electronic method?

Should money be set aside to ensure minimum connection speeds for every household and business?

Digital skills, and that covers a large variety of areas not just coding, are vital for almost every role in today’s society but it is widely recognised that there are a large number of people without basic digital skills.

In addition economic growth could accelerate if Wales was to become a hotbed of skilled people with basic digital skills to perform everyday tasks through to leading edge technologies such as cyber or robotics.

Would a fully funded skills academy make Wales one of the destinations of choice for both large and SME employers and start ups?

Often described as 'water cooler moments', it is known that bringing like minded people together contributes towards accelerated growth, collaboration and knowledge transfer. This could be encouraged by building environments where these people could flourish in their own organisation, but also work together potentially collaborating to bid for work which would not be possible on their own.

Would building new environments, or repurposing existing ones to specific areas of expertise, build thriving new digital communities?

September’s Digital Tuesday intends to let you have your say by bringing some of the people bidding for that money together to ask for your ideas. Registration will open shortly – so if you don’t attend, don’t say that you weren’t asked!

Digital Tuesday – August 4 – Riverfront Theatre, Newport

Registration is still open for next Tuesday’s event which gives a unique opportunity to hear from and network with Stephen and Leon Fear from Fear Group who have recently invested £60m in a project in Newport.

Stephen is entrepreneur in residence at The British Library and is known in the press as the phonebox millionaire in recognition of the humble start to his business empire.

If you’d like to join us register via