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Government Catapult To Slingshot Business Into Digital Age

Eric is a veteran British tech journalist, currently editing ChannelBiz for NetMediaEurope. With expertise in security, the channel, and Britain's startup culture, through his TechBritannia initiative

Vince Cable has announced the Connected Digital Economy Catapult to encourage digital technology adoption by UK businesses

The Connected Digital Economy Catapult hub has been launched by the government to help UK businesses benefit from advances in technology that will deliver new products to the marketplace.

The centre will focus on how the pervasiveness of digital services could be harnessed, addressing the impact of technologies such as Cloud computing and identity management, how digital media and content are traded and used and how technology could enhance our lives.

Digitising dinosaurs

The Catapult will also be used to provide help to bring businesses that are operationally less active in the digital market place to understand and develop ways that new technology can innovate their traditional practices. This will include the transfer of information and experience from established digital sectors aims to build new, profitable business models.

Announcing the hub, Coalition Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable (pictured) said, “We have world leading, innovative businesses in the ICT, digital and creative sectors which have considerable potential for growth … I and the rest of the Government want to make sure that we can maintain that position in the future: taking new technologies and using them in an innovative way to make a product or service that people want. The Connected Digital Economy Catapult will be instrumental in making sure that happens.”

The new hub is the latest in a growing family of Catapult centres established by the Technology Strategy Board. Previously established hubs in the £200 million initiative include offshore renewable energy, satellite applications, and cell therapy.

“In the coming weeks,” Cable added, “we will be announcing the final areas that will be covered by Catapult centres – further areas where we have a cutting edge which we can support, nurture and exploit – to help us rebalance the economy and deliver strong, sustainable and balanced growth.”

Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, commented, “We are extremely pleased to be supporting such an important technology area with a Catapult centre. With many, if not all, industries searching for ways to utilise digital technology, the opportunity for the Catapult will be enormous. It will also be applicable to all Internet-using businesses and industries as they attempt to innovate with digital technology to provide consumers and businesses with new products and services.”

The Digital Economy hub will complement another government-sponsored scheme, the £400 million East End Tech City, colloquially dubbed the Silicon Roundabout. This is envisaged as a UK version of Silicon Valley where established firms, such as Twitter, will rub against startups to create an incubation region for technological development.