West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, announced that a record 1,600 jobs were created in the region in 2016/17, thanks to targeted campaigning with domestic and foreign-owned investors by Invest Bristol & Bath.
He made the announcement today (Thursday 22 June) on a visit to Ultrahaptics, which has entered the global virtual reality market from its Bristol base, with cutting-edge mid-air touchless technology.
More than half of all companies supported by Invest Bristol & Bath are new or expanding digital and high-tech businesses, creating nearly 800 new jobs in this sector alone.
Tim said: “Invest Bristol & Bath has exceeded its job creation target for the year, attracting a wide range of new international and national companies from a mix of industries including aerospace, advanced engineering, financial and professional services, the nuclear sector, distribution and logistics, as well as the high-tech sector.
“This is great news for the region and we must build on this, working together to make the West of England an attractive prospect for business and industry. I know how these investments can take many years to reach fruition, which is why we need to plan for the future and the types of businesses and jobs we would like to see in our region.”
West of England Local Enterprise Partnership Interim Chair, Professor Steve West, said: “Invest Bristol & Bath has played a crucial role in bringing innovative new business into the region. These latest job creation figures illustrate what can be achieved by partnership working and targeted investment in key sectors.”
Ultrahaptics is a prime example of how regional support can help a company expand. The company grew out of the University of Bristol and SETsquared and was supported to locate its global headquarters in the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. It has grown from three employees to over 70 in just over two years and has recently opened a US office in Silicon Valley.
Ultrahaptics CEO, Steve Cliffe, said: “Working alongside some of our partners including Invest Bristol & Bath, which has supported us since we first moved in to our home at Glass Wharf just over a year ago, we are pleased to be welcoming the Mayor to our new expanded office.
“Bristol remains a great place for us due to the pool of excellent engineering talent in the area which provides us with the ideal base to build on our success and drive the next wave of innovation for our customers around the world.”
The Mayor is meeting with a number of key players in the technology sector, which currently contributes £1.2bn to the regional economy; it is seen as important growth sector with an average of 225 start-ups per year in the West of England.
Tim added: “Meeting local industry leaders from technology businesses has shown how when we create the right conditions a sector can thrive – Bristol and Bath is now the most productive tech sector in the UK. We will work together to skill up the region, support access to finance and improve gender diversity in teh.”
Invest Bristol & Bath is the investment promotion agency for the Bristol and Bath region, part of the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership. It supports foreign direct investment, UK national companies and those companies already in the region as they grow and expand with hands on advice and intelligence.
Find out more at www.bristolandbath.co.uk