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Firms in London's Tech City told to move to the county by Locate in Kent to deal with skills shortage revealed by Tech City Futures Report

02 January 2014
by Chris Price

Kent could hold the solution for a skills shortage in London’s Tech City according to business leaders.

Nearly half of firms among the cluster of technology companies at the capital’s Silicon Roundabout say they cannot find the specialist IT skills they needed, with 70% finding a shortage of programmers a problem.

The Tech City Futures Report also revealed 29% of firms believe they are being hit by a shortage of available capital needed to market their products, from both institutional and private investors.

Technology firms are being encouraged to move to Kent

Technology firms are being encouraged to move to Kent

Some 33% say they feel this has held their business back.

Bosses questioned fror the report also say they think their company is missing out on the latest business opportunities because of their inability to secure funding quickly.

Nearly a fifth – 19% – admitted they have let staff go because of a lack of finance.

The county’s inward investment agency Locate in Kent believes the answer lies in relocating outside the city.

Chief executive Paul Wookey said: “Kent could be a real option for many companies facing challenges in London.

“High Speed rail links mean the county is within easy reach of the capital and yet property prices, both commercial and residential, are lower than in London.

Locate in Kent chief executive Paul Wookey

Locate in Kent chief executive Paul Wookey

“We also have a plentiful supply of suitably qualified graduates from our three universities – the University of Kent, University of Greenwich and University of the Creative Arts – providing a growing skills base.

“There are also great bases for tech businesses, such as Kent Science Park, Discovery Park, the Innovation Centre Medway and innovation centres at The Bridge and The Base, Dartford.”

Mr Wookey added that the county is also a family-friendly spot and the ideal place for settling down, meaning employees who want to do this are more likely to stay for many years.

He said: “Creating a workforce that does not need to be replaced on a regular basis can be key to the success of the company, as doing this achieves stability and the creation of a talented and loyal group.

“Kent is an ideal location to develop that base.”

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