Welsh Tech Leaders Predict Post COVID Opportunities for Wales

"We are now working very effectively from afar. I think Wales has the chance to take this opportunity from London." This was the view of the founder and CEO of Starling Bank, Anne Boden MBE, during a Learnings from Leaders: Forging our Tech Future Virtual Event during the first Wales Tech Week.

Anne attended a round table, supported by the Welsh government tradeandinvest.wales, that dealt with the resilience of the Welsh technology sector from its leaders' perspective – one of over 100 sessions covering a wide range of content, from armored polar bears to towards manufacturing In space, this attracted over 4,000 virtual attendees from 15 countries to the first Wales Tech Week.

The panelists Gareth Williams, VP Secure Communications & Information Systems at Thales Group joined her; Chris Meadows, director of CS Connected; Katy Chamberlain, CEO in focus; and Richard Pring, director of Wales Interactive, to share insights and explore new and exciting opportunities for collaboration between fast-moving global industries in Wales and beyond. The meeting was hosted by Avril Lewis MBE, Managing Director of Technology Connected, organizer of Wales Tech Week.

Starling Bank is the UK's fastest growing SME bank and is well on the way to lending £ 1 billion to small businesses. With the opening of their new office in Cardiff shortly before the closure, 400 jobs were created.

Anne said:

This crisis will accelerate the things that have happened anyway – a move away from cash to cards and the spread of the digital industry. People no longer want to work in big cities. I think there is a chance for Wales, for South Wales in the Cardiff and Swansea regions, to take part of this opportunity from London, which is traditionally seen as the center of the FinTech world.

And we do our part at Starling Bank, what we do to bring jobs to Cardiff. We can create these industries and operate them from Wales. We have to show that you can be a technology entrepreneur and be based in Wales.

Chris Meadows Exciting times are ahead for the compound semiconductor sector, which saw strong demand during the crisis:

People will increasingly deal with contactless communication methods that rely on compound semiconductors. Wales has a particular advantage over larger countries. We can be agile and work together very quickly to ensure that we take advantage of the opportunities that arise.

Thales worked with the Welsh government to recently set up the £ 20m National Digital Exploitation Center at Ebbw Vale, a cornerstone of Thales' cybersecurity capability in the UK. Gareth Williams said: “Last week we presented eight different countries in Asia in a virtual live demo of what we did in Ebbw Vale. We can ask the Welsh government to help in some of these countries. "

This follows the launch of the new international strategy by the Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language, Eluned Morgan MS, earlier this year.

The broad discussion has shown how important the relationship between the public and private sectors and science is for the strength of the technical ecosystem and for the further development of the Welsh economy.

Chris Meadows:

"We are a small community with better access to ministers than other countries. Indeed, it has a lot of weight and credibility to say that the government of Wales is behind the technology sector."

The Welsh technology sector is valued at £ 8.5 billion for the Welsh economy. It is one of the fastest growing digital economies outside of London and continues to grow. Wales is known for its highly skilled workforce, world-class universities and robust digital infrastructure. Britain's first 5G network was launched in Cardiff.

Around 45,000 people are actively employed in the digital economy in Wales. Over 3,500 domestic and multinational technology companies are based here.

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