16 August 2017

It’s got a growing reputation as a city where digital and creative businesses can start up, grow and thrive on a national and international scale.

And now Sheffield is set to underline the importance of its digital sector even further, with Sheffield City Council joining Sheffield Digital – the association for the people and businesses of Sheffield’s digital industries – as a regional partner.

This new partnership signals the council’s recognition of the increasing importance of the digital sector to economic growth, health and wellbeing, and will provide a mechanism for closer engagement and collaboration between the authority and businesses.

It will also create opportunities for people working in the digital and creative industries to share their expertise to help address issues around skills, diversity and inclusion, enabling Sheffield to thrive in the digital economy.

Councillor Olivia Blake, deputy leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “We know that digital and creative companies are increasingly choosing to be based here in Sheffield, where they can be surrounded by the expertise, knowledge and support they need to make their businesses grow.

“We also recognise the importance of the digital sector in generating jobs and growth for the city, but also in helping to work with the public sector to enable residents to thrive and make the most of digital opportunities.

“Working with Sheffield Digital will enable us to build a coalition for Sheffield that can take the digital sector in the city to the next level.”

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment at Sheffield City Council, added: “Sheffield is known the world over as a city that makes, and this reputation is as true and important for our creative and digital industries as it is for our advanced manufacturing and engineering.

“I welcome the fact that we’ve further strengthened our relationship with Sheffield Digital by becoming a regional partner.”

Sheffield Digital was set up two years ago and now has a growing membership of tech businesses and individuals who work in the sector.

Other regional partners include the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and the Barnsley Digital Media Centre. Sheffield Digital also has close ties to both of Sheffield’s universities.

A full list of the founders, sponsors and members who support Sheffield Digital can be found on the organisation’s website: https://sheffield.digital

Mel Kanarek, one of Sheffield Digital’s directors, said: “Regional Partnerships are a way for other organisations in the region to collaborate with us and explore how working with digital technology can create benefits across the economy.

“This is an exciting time for the city. A number of initiatives are coming together that will help confirm Sheffield as a place where digital businesses thrive. We’re looking forward to the breadth of opportunities that this will create.”

The 2017 Tech Nation report showed that more than 18,000 people are employed in digital roles in Sheffield, while research by Sheffield Hallam University found that the top 25 tech companies in Sheffield City Region alone employ more than 12,000 people and bring in more than £2 billion a year.

A report published in June this year, jointly commissioned by the University of Sheffield and Creative Sheffield, stated that Sheffield has the talent potential to continue to grow its digital and creative capabilities and is “on the cusp of something big.”

Digital companies based in Sheffield include:

  • Zoo Digital – provide video captioning technology for the biggest brands in global entertainment and media, including the six largest Hollywood studios
  • The Floow – is set to double its workforce after securing a £13m investment that the Prime Minister said showed Sheffield is “open for business.” The firm writes software that tracks driver behaviour and enables insurers to set premiums.
  • Pimoroni – the second fastest-growing manufacturing company in the UK, and 50th fastest in Europe. Also Google’s first international partner for the Android Things platform.
  • Joi Polloi – whose clients include Channel 4 and the BBC, and who won two BAFTAs for work on the TV programmes ‘Humans’ and ‘Live From Space’. The company also received an Emmy nomination for its ‘Don’t Stop the Music’ campaign
  • Sumo Digital – lead developer for Little Big Planet 3 for Sony and works exclusively with Sega on its All Stars games franchise. Sumo also recently launched its first independent game, Snake Pass.
  • Ask4 – a specialist broadband provider that recently expanded into Europe and now provides services to more than 400 multi-tenanted sites.