Forum reveals strategy for digital growth

A Sheffield Chamber forum has published its strategy for the digital industries sector to ensure the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) knows how the sector can contribute to their key objective of growth.

The Chamber’s Digital Industries Forum is made up of local business leaders from across the region and will identify the opportunities to grow the sector, improve the collective efficiencies of all companies and keep pressure on the LEP to achieve its targets.

Digital industries in the Sheffield City Region consist of around 48,000 employees, which is more than seven percent of the total workforce, but that could be more.

Despite being one of the newest groups to be created by the Chamber the Digital Industries Forum is amongst the first to analyse their strengths and opportunities and produce a strategy proposal to the LEP.

Contrary to the traditional view that the sector is a wealth creator in its own right, it recognises that their primary responsibility is to help improve the performance of all the businesses in other sectors in the region.

The forum’s key aims include the continued development of strategic databases and business tools that can utilise the existing broadband infrastructure giving the region’s businesses a real competitive advantage against the rest of the world.

Chris Muscroft, from Highlander IT & Telecoms Solutions, is chair of the Digital Industries Forum. He said: “The digital sector is seen as a great vehicle for growth and wealth creation into the future. It can be both a support sector helping every other industry perform better, and on the other hand is a wealth creator in its own right.

“This window of opportunity is unlikely to last forever and so one of the forum’s responsibilities is to get the message out and help companies to exploit the benefits available. The forum is actively looking at the potential for growth so it can feed value added ideas into the LEP.”

As a support sector the digital industries provide high speed broadband access and a range of real services that every business and home in the region should use. South Yorkshire is unique in the UK in having the infrastructure to support 100 percent high speed broadband access and, used properly, should give all existing businesses a competitive edge.