Technology Milton Keynes
The evolution of Milton Keynes as one of England’s most Tech-friendly towns.
MILTON KEYNES HISTORY
Milton Keynes is one of the most advanced and well-developed regions of Buckinghamshire and is an attractive tech and business destination outside London. Even before the development of the modern-day towns of Bletchley and Milton Keynes, the original villages in the region enjoyed historical significance since as early as the 11th century, as documented in the Domesday Book. Developed in the ’60s to counter the housing congestion in London and the immediate areas, Milton Keynes is now one of the fastest-growing towns in the country. One of the last new towns built in England, Milton Keynes largely owes its growth and economic progress to the technology sector. It is home to more than 10,000 businesses and includes the head offices of some of the top corporations in the world. But how did this new town in the heart of Buckinghamshire come to be one of the top tech hubs in the country?
EVOLUTION OF TECHNOLOGY IN MILTON KEYNES
Although Milton Keynes itself came to be established in 1967, the villages and towns in the area were already at the centre of industrialisation and development throughout the second world war. So much so, that the area of Bletchley, which is now part of Milton Keynes, served as an important base for military intelligence in the second world war with “Station X,” more commonly known as Bletchley Park today, being the Allied forces’ main codebreaking establishment during the war.
In recent years too, innovation and tech in Milton Keynes have played a transformational role in uplifting its economy. Thanks to its fantastic tech-friendly environment and infrastructure, many enterprises, both large and small, have made Milton Keynes their home. Moreover, it also offers excellent opportunities to students and tech enthusiasts to pursue their interests and gain employment in one of the many corporations that are headquartered in the town. From UK’s first Smart Homes development to the country’s largest distance learning institution, Milton Keynes is home to some of the finest establishments in England.
EXCELLENT BASE FOR THE BEST IN TECHNOLOGY
In 2017, Milton Keynes overtook Cambridge to become UK’s fastest-growing town or city economy. Big tech companies like VMware, Xero, Amazon, T-Systems, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Tech Mahindra, Cisco, Apple, Bosch, Oracle, and Network Rail choosing to have their offices in Milton Keynes has led to the town becoming a magnet that attracts tech professionals and experts from all over the country. It has gradually emerged out as one of the best towns in the UK that has a good flow of both, excellent employment and training opportunities, as well as suitable candidates who can fill these specialist tech roles.
Another important specialist tech sector that has been at the centre of the tech revolution in Milton Keynes is the world-leading High-Performance Technologies sector. It proves as an ideal operational base for research centres of businesses like Red Bull Racing, Prodrive, IMS Evolve, Catapult Transport Systems and CityFibre, as it provides easy access to leading technology research, dedicated business infrastructure, advanced engineering supply chain and a large number of trained workers from the surrounding regions.
For these very same reasons, Santander, which is one of the largest employers in Milton Keynes, has chosen to build an innovative digital hub to provide environmental and economic benefits to the local community. The state-of-the-art infrastructure will also bring the staff and community together under a sustainable developmental model and the long-term investment will cement MK’s position as a leading technology centre in the country.
Milton Keynes is also an ideal place for tech start-ups and SME’s. Some of the most successful local-born businesses such as MHA MacIntyre Hudson, InnovateIT, FiguringOut Data, HDK Solutions Ltd. and BriteYellow, are prime examples of companies that have made a name for themselves in the tech industry by getting access to the right support and opportunities in Milton Keynes. It is also one of the few towns that have embraced emerging technological innovations. Putting them to practical use in the functioning of the town, which is why, it is not unusual to spot dock-less bikes, wireless bus charging, contact-less robot deliveries and self-driving cars, operating in this tech-friendly town.
EXCEPTIONAL SUPPORT FOR TECH ENTERPRISES & ENTREPRENEURS
One of the biggest reasons why MK has become a thriving tech centre is the excellent educational, financial, mentoring, and infrastructural support that is easily available to companies and individuals who wish to make a mark in the tech industry. Educational institutions like MK: U (Proposed), Cranfield University, Milton Keynes College and the Open University, have all played a vital role in providing the right knowledge, research expertise and training opportunities that are instrumental in developing a rewarding career in technology.
Similarly, the presence of specialised tech hubs like Biztech has also been pivotal in ensuring the progress and advancement of the local tech community. It is a trusted source of information as well as an excellent networking base that supports established as well as upcoming tech businesses in the SEMLEP region. Biztech has also brought Milton Keynes at the forefront of the tech revolution by organising advanced tech-based events in collaboration with various institutions, to pave the way for digital and technological innovation in important areas of transportation, logistics, medicine, engineering, retail, banking and more.
There is no doubt that the tech sector of Milton Keynes is one of the best in the nation. With several big and small proposed research and development projects that are expected to take us into a new age of digital and technology, it is only a matter of time before Milton Keynes becomes the “Silicon Valley” of England.
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WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
I came across the Biztech Forum about 18 months after starting my Engineering Consulting Company. I was still finding my feet and had been doing the rounds of various networking groups. From the first meeting I attended the Biztech Forum was different! Noteably, the meeting was about arranging Events for members to inform and educate them about business and technology topics, not businesses (mostly irrelevant to me) trying to sell to each other! 11 years on and I am a Director of the Forum and have found great value not only in the Events, but most particularly in being able to collaborate, associate and work with like minded peers and leaders be they with technical, entrepreneurial, education, business or any other background.
I joined Biztech because I saw an opportunity to help more Tech Business owners in the region. The Biztech Board is full of enthusiastic and very experienced tech leaders and their passion and vision to helping others was the main reason that I joined. My membership has helped me to expand my network and make quality connections within the tech sector. I look forward to supporting not only Biztech but also its members and stakeholders for many years to come.
We joined Biztech to discover more about and engage with the community of technology businesses within the Milton Keynes region. We benefitted immediately from the events that Biztech presents that address a range of highly relevant subjects and that have helped us to feel very much at the centre of the local community of businesses.
It became apparent however that there was much more than Biztech could do to help the region’s technology businesses to thrive, for example by looking for ways to address the shortage of young people choosing a career as an engineer. It was a great privilege therefore to be able to help establish the massively successful ‘Engineering your future’ Biztech event held annually for schools.
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