West Midlands to appoint tech commissioner to champion region

West Midlands tech commissioner Image credit: WMCA

The West Midlands will appoint a ‘tech commissioner’ to champion the region’s tech sector and encourage more investment in local tech startups.

The tech commissioner will look to build on the recent growth in the region, with the West Midlands last year named the UK’s fastest-growing tech hub.

The role, which has not yet been assigned, has been created through a two-year partnership between the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and not-for-profit community initiative Birmingham Tech.

The partnership, announced at Birmingham Tech Week, will establish a network of West Midlands tech ambassadors to promote the region’s tech credentials globally.

“As our region bounces back from Covid and we seek to supercharge our economic recovery, digital technology will have a central role to play,” said Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA.

“If we want to deliver growth and provide local residents with the high-quality, well-paid jobs of the future then we must embed the latest digital technology into West Midlands businesses and ensure everyone has digital access in their personal and professional lives.”

The partnership will also play a “key role” in tackling digital exclusion, reaching net zero and boosting post-Covid recovery – as outlined as part the WMCA’s Digital Roadmap.

“The West Midlands has a rich history of innovation, and this ingenuity will allow us to be at the forefront of the next digital revolution,” said Yiannis Maos, founder and CEO of Birmingham Tech.

The WMCA and Birmingham Tech will also work together to set up more workspaces for tech entrepreneurs and startups, along with increasing data sharing.

“Technology needs to be the bedrock of our economy and it will be critical for the West Midlands to compete on the global stage,” added Cllr Ian Brookfield, WMCA portfolio lead for economy and innovation and leader of City of Wolverhampton Council.

“This is hugely important for businesses and people across the whole region, from Wolverhampton to Leamington Spa. It will help create the right conditions for innovative new firms to flourish and create the jobs local people need.”