Business leaders set out plans to create ‘tech supercluster’ in West Midlands

West Midlands superclusterGenerating £27.8 billion gross value added annually, and employing more than 360,000 people, the West Midlands is the UK’s largest centre for business, professional and financial services (BPFS) outside London. Now, business leaders from Shoosmiths, Wesleyan, Bruntwood CBRE amongst others, are working with the region’s just under 12,500 leading tech and digital companies to see how they can integrate AI and advanced technology into their everyday activities.

SuperTech –  which claims to be the first professional services technology (ProfTech) supercluster in the UK – is open to firms across the country and aims to increase technology-led productivity gains within business and professional services organisations.

Eight industry leaders from finance, law, property and technology have been chosen to head up SuperTech including David Stewart, Group Chief Operating Officer at Wesleyan, Tony Randle, Partner at Shoosmiths, Simon Davis CEO of Nimbus Maps along with Inez Brown, president of Birmingham Law Society.

David Stewart, Group Chief Operating Officer at Wesleyan and co-lead for the finance cluster within SuperTech, said: “ProfTech, like FinTech, is an emerging sector with enormous potential to scale. Having undertaken a number of studies into FinTech, which in just a few short years is now worth £411.7 million per annum to the West Midlands economy, we’ve identified three ways in which we can facilitate growth – access to businesses, access to technology and access to talented people. SuperTech combines all three, by connecting technology firms with the major professional services businesses we have across the region.

“For established organisations like ourselves, involvement in SuperTech gives us access to the region’s emerging tech talent and latest developments, while tech firms, whether focused on finance, property, law or insurance, can find new ways to solve business issues and gain direct access to a sector that is worth almost £28bn – 26.5% of the total regional economy.”

SuperTech will also encourage those who have developed solutions for finance and other sectors to consider how they might be able to adapt and open up markets in property, law and insurance with direct access to West Midland businesses in all fields.

Tony Randle, partner at Shoosmiths and LawTech lead for SuperTech, added: “If you look at where the investment is going in law, it is centred towards “New Law” businesses that are able to leverage technology to improve and automate processes. Massive change is coming, and tech is going to play a crucial role in determining whether law firms thrive or fail. At Shoosmiths we are very firmly standing behind SuperTech in supporting its goal of promoting much greater integration of technology in law and the wider professional services community.”

In a further move to support the growth of professional services technology in the region, a partnership between the Investment Association and Wesleyan has established Europe’s largest asset management FinTech hub, The Engine Room, in Birmingham.