LEAMINGTON’S Silicon Spa is set to expand even further.
A new strategy for growing the local games cluster and the wider digital creative sector has been launched by Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).
The CWLEP, in partnership with games trade body Ukie, has launched ‘Games Industry in Coventry and Warwickshire – Blueprint for Growth’.
The new report highlights the cultural and economic contribution made to the region by the games industry and makes recommendations for how to grow it and benefit the wider digital creative sector.
The report shows how the West Midlands’ games sector is a 21st century growth industry – contributing economically and culturally to the region’s success.
Around 130 of the UK’s best games businesses are based in the West Midlands – notably in and around Leamington’s ‘Silicon Spa’ – creating, highly skilled, productive jobs and opportunities throughout the region.
At any one time, there are between 2,000 and 2,500 full time employees in more than 50 games companies in and around Leamington, out of a total of some 3,500 games industry professionals across the West Midlands.
The report makes recommendations to the CWLEP, local authorities, West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), the Midlands Engine, Westminster and Ukie to:
* Invest in specialist games sector support and development of an interactive media and digital manufacturing cluster
* Promote the heritage and culture of Silicon Spa as a source of regional competitive advantage; a distinctive digital manufacturing sector that also develops enabling technologies to catalyse growth in other priority industry sectors
* Underpin the supply of talent through a range of industry-led approaches to skills in schools, colleges and universities, building on evidence of international best practice
* Explore ways to use co-investment to unlock investment in new IP and growth
* Celebrate ‘games as culture’ as part of a story of cutting edge UK innovation, offering a stimulus to education, inward investment and the visitor economy
* Encourage collaboration between games businesses, universities and research institutes to build a supportive and forward looking climate for R&D and innovation across the region
* Encourage information sharing between councils, landlords and developers to ensure supply of a range of workspace across Coventry & Warwickshire to meet the diverse needs of existing businesses, start-ups and inward investors
* Work with internet service providers and the Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) to address shortcomings in the digital communications infrastructure that place businesses across Coventry & Warwickshire – and games companies in particular – at a disadvantage to other UK regions and to international competitors
Sarah Windrum, board member of the CWLEP and CEO and co-founder of the Emerald Group, said: “Not enough people know that we have a world class games cluster in the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP area, and the wider West Midlands, and this an industry and success story we should shout about more.
“The games sector crucially requires the skills needed by wider digital creative businesses and support for these skills is therefore essential. Promoting and growing the local games sector will create more jobs and also increase the highly skilled workforce that will benefit the wider local economy.”