New Digital Innovation Centre proposal for Somerset
A business led digital community
For several years now there has been momentum building under the leadership of the Digital Taunton business community to put Taunton at the heart of the Somerset and wider South West high growth M5 tech corridor, supporting businesses in realising their vision and the journey of “digital business transformation”.
The formation of the new Somerset West and Taunton Council with renewed leadership and purpose in March 2019, coincided with the reinvigoration of the regular monthly Digital Taunton meet ups of over 80 business leaders.
This has led to a range of interested stakeholders coming together to realise the original vision of a Digital Taunton cluster which was published in 2017.
Partnering with stakeholders
As a newly formed Council, Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) wanted to make things happen and deliver new investment on the ground with a clear focus on the regeneration of Taunton as the County town.
Key to this was developing a vision and mixed use masterplan for Firepool to breathe new life into the town centre as part of its Garden Town prospectus, and raise the profile of Taunton as a dynamic and welcoming business community with a focus on ‘fostering opportunities for collaboration, innovation, enterprise and employment in the creative, cultural and digital economy”
Somerset County Council has a strong track-record of securing external funding for and delivering successful enterprise and innovation centre schemes.
The two Local Authorities have pursued a collaborative-approach to a Digital Innovation Centre scheme to respond to market failures, unmet business need and innovation support.
A sustainable business community
The Digital Innovation Centre proposal has already attracted over 90 confirmed expressions of interest from the Digital Taunton community in support of the business case submitted to the LEP to receive funding from the Government’s Getting Building Fund as well as seeking additional funding from the European Regional Development Fund. These are currently in the final stages of determination with significant Local Authority contributions already confirmed.
The Digital Taunton business community is being consulted on the architectural design and internal lay out of the 3,000 square metre centre intended to be built and fitted out in early 2022, if the funding package and planning is approved in the next couple of months, with supporting innovation services to be commissioned in 2021 to make this a true centre of excellence for businesses.
It aims to support any business that wants to transform in a digital age including but not limited to
Natives: Digital jobs in Digital Tech industries
Supporters: Non-digital jobs in Digital Tech industries
Transformers: Digital jobs in traditional industries
As one Digital Taunton business involved in the project quoted: “The ability to create a concentration of excellence, specific digital expertise and an inspiring environment to collaborate will help small business in Somerset thrive.”
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