The West Midlands has become the first region globally to invest in latest ‘no-code’ technology to help drive economic growth.
SuperTech, a collaboration between some of the region’s largest, well-established businesses and emerging technology companies, aims to increase the rate of tech development and adoption in professional services, with fully-funded no-code training bootcamps forming part of its central offering.
Predicted by Forbes to be the most disruptive trend in 2021, no code allows absolutely anyone, no matter their technical ability or financial position, to develop and launch complicated web or mobile apps in a fraction of the time it took in 2019.
Analysis shows that what in 2019 would have required an average of £250,000 investment, 18 months of development and a technical director or co-founder with a relevant degree (or in the case of Facebook four Harvard students) can now be achieved in 2-3 months with anywhere between £0 and £500 worth of investment.
No-code is being seen as a way of quickly and effectively solving business problems, launching new services and products and creating new enterprises.
Tech giants Amazon, Google and Microsoft have all invested heavily in no-code platforms and now the West Midlands has adopted it as part of a plan to grow its largest sector, business, professional and financial services.
Generating £27.8 billion gross value added annually and employing 358,200 people, the West Midlands is the UK’s largest centre for business, professional and financial services outside the capital. Greater collaboration between these larger firms and the region’s 12,550 tech and digital companies, also the largest grouping of its kind outside of London, is a key part of the region’s modern services Local Industrial Strategy.
Jof Walters is an experienced FinTech entrepreneur and no-code proponent who launched more than 200 start-ups in 2020. He said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has shown just how reliant all businesses now need to be on technology. To recover we need advancements now not in 12 or 24 months. With the SuperTech Seeds programme we can take those individuals with a deep understanding of their sector who may be furloughed, looking for work or full-time employed, and in a matter of weeks get them to the point where they are able to develop and launch their own business solution apps.”
Major service organisations leading the SuperTech partnership include Wesleyan, Shoosmiths, Bruntwood, CBRE and Birmingham Law Society. Combining expertise in law, property, finance and insurance the aim of the group is to establish the West Midlands as a centre of excellence for professional services technology.
Support funding for the no-code programme is being provided by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP).GBSLEP chair, Tim Pile said: “Business, professional and financial services are by far and away the largest contributors to our regional economy. It’s a sector that’s packed full of entrepreneurs and innovators who are consistently changing the way we live, work and interact with each other – from contactless payments and property purchases, to how we legally and financially protect ourselves. Ensuring the future of these next generation services is vital for citizens and businesses alike.
“The recent HM Treasury commissioned FinTech review led by Ron Kalifa OBE identified Birmingham as a national centre of excellence in FinTech. In just five years the sector has grown to be worth £400 million per annum to the region’s economy. In order to continue to grow, the report rightfully called for new and affordable short-term courses to help up skill adults. We’re not only responding swiftly, but have gone further by providing fully funded no-code courses to West Midlands residents across all sectors of business and professional services, whether in work or seeking new opportunities.
“The pace of technological change and adoption has been incredible in recent months. We’re on the cusp of a new technological revolution and like the industrial revolution before it we’re aiming for the West Midlands to be front and centre of that change benefitting from the high-skilled jobs and investment that will flow from it.”
Earlier this month SuperTech, the regional body for promoting tech adoption in professional and business services firms, agreed a major partnership with the City of London Corporation. The agreement will see the two bodies work closely to promote West Midlands professional and technology firms on a national and global scale, to help ensure that the UK remains the FinTech capital of the world.
Whilst based in the West Midlands membership of SuperTech and paid for places on the organisation’s Seeds no-code programme are open to technology and professional service businesses globally. To find out more and get involved visit: www.supertechwm.com/register