14 May, 2019 - 21:36 By Tony Quested

Cleevely helps steer strategy for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

David Cleevely

Cambridge Wireless and Anglia Ruskin University have delivered the first ever digital sector strategy to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority business board. 

Content from the blueprint has already been adopted into the new Local Industrial Strategy and recommendations are starting to be progressed. The comprehensive roadmap was developed by a commission consisting of senior figures from regional business and academia, chaired by serial entrepreneur David Cleevely, based on primary research and secondary data. 

It provides recommendations across nine domains, for both the public and private sectors, that the commission believes will help increase the digital sector’s contribution to regional gross value added and enhance Cambridgeshire & Peterborough’s reputation as a global centre of cutting-edge and inclusive technology innovation and adoption.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough digital sector employs more than double the number in digitally intensive sectors compared to the rest of the country and continues to be a magnet for continued global inward investment. It is an enabling sector whose products and services offer increased productivity to all other regional industries.

The commission agreed that the region is very well-placed for widespread digital success but to capitalise on this opportunity the public and private sectors have to act now to install the digital infrastructure, talent pipelines, networking and knowledge transfer processes to compete effectively.

Further comments are now welcome on this final document from the business community before the July meeting of the business board.
Based on data gathered in a region-wide business survey, the domains identified as those most critical to success are talent & skills, technology infrastructure and the digital supply chain.  

Networking emerged throughout the development of this report as an essential underpinning for each of the domain areas. 

Recommendations that are already being progressed by the Combined Authority as first priorities include:-

  • High quality digital infrastructure being installed as default alongside major transport schemes and other works, being consulted upon as part of the Local Transport Plan
  • Prioritising digital skills provision as part of the commissioning of the newly devolved Adult Education Budget
  • Building a compelling Cambridge cluster brand and marketing programme to increase inward investment
  • Developing innovation districts where applications of new digital technologies and solutions can be trialled

Professor Andy Neely
Professor Andy Neely

Business board lead for local industrial strategy, Professor Andy Neely, said: “The Combined Authority was impressed with the thoroughness of the digital sector strategy as well as the level of region-wide stakeholder engagement which was shown throughout. 

“It was very important to us that the business community had an opportunity to share their views on the future growth of the region’s digital sector and we welcome further comments before the business board meets in July to agree how the recommendations outlined in the strategy will be taken forwards.”

To produce the strategy, academics from Anglia Ruskin University worked alongside CW to review secondary sources, including the key data-sets of the Cambridge University Centre for Business Research.  

They studied the responses to the survey of over 100 local businesses and highlighted the links between the perceived relative importance of different recommendations to the districts of the respondents and to their roles in the technology supply chain, as well as ensuring that new ideas and insights were brought to the attention of the Combined Authority through this project.

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