CBI boss told of Bristol’s global potential in emerging tech sectors on visit to city

January 21, 2022

National business organisation such as the CBI can play a crucial role in helping Bristol develop world-class clusters in high-potential sectors such as deeptech and creative tech, its director-general was told on a visit to the city.

Tony Danker met a number of businesses in Bristol to hear about the city’s long-established strengths in industries such as aerospace and advanced engineering as well as digital and tech. 

But he was also told that, with support from the CBI and the government, Bristol could develop similar world-leading expertise in emerging sectors.

Mr Danker led a roundtable discussion at Bristol innovation hub Engine Shed – which is backed by the University of Bristol – for key figures in the creative and tech cluster.

The West of England is already established as the UK’s most successful tech cluster, contributing £1.7bn to the local economy. But it is increasingly looking to build on this by harnessing the potential of a range of next-generation tech-based industries.

Engine Shed director Marty Reid said: “While there has been remarkable growth in the South West across the digital and tech sectors, clusters of capability in areas like crea-tech, quantum and deep tech are only starting to scratch the surface of the huge potential for impact on business and society.

“Proactive engagement between business networks in the regional cluster and national organisations like the CBI will be crucial for continuing this success.

“We need a shared and open approach to ensure the growth driven by these clusters is environmentally sustainable and that the benefits and opportunities are accessible by anyone in society.”

The roundtable, organised in partnership with transatlantic law firm Womble Bond Dickinson – which has an office in Bristol – also gave Mr Danker the opportunity to outline the CBI’s vision for growing regional prosperity, called Seize The Moment, as well as hearing from local business leaders about the key challenges they face.

As well as leading the roundtable, Mr Danker met bosses at aerospace giant Airbub’s wing design facility at Filton and Wotton-under-Edge-based Renishaw, which makes innovative measuring probes and equipment used in factories across the globe.

Following the visits he said: “Building world-class clusters is the key to establishing the international competitiveness of our regions, which is vital if we are to build a high wage, high skill, high investment and high productivity UK.

“I have seen first-hand the South West’s excellence in aerospace, crea-tech and maritime industries, and growing clusters like these can ignite levelling-up ambitions and deliver growth and opportunity to all parts of the country.”

CBI South West director Ben Rhodes said the South West was home to some genuinely world-leading clusters that, with some additional support from government through its ‘levelling-up’ agenda, had the potential to drive greater regional prosperity.

Photo of Tony Danker courtesy of Jon Rowley





Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across Bristol for just £120 a month. Email info@bristol-business.net for more information.