App firm creates digital hub for Taunton to grow sector
A technology firm has created a networking hub for a town in a bid to grow the sector locally and attract young people into the industry.
Digital Taunton has been set up by Idea Bureau, which builds apps for not-for-profit organisations.
Founder Shane Griffiths said: "It felt like Taunton was very much falling behind the regional digital sector and entrepreneurship with young people."
About 50 firms have joined the hub, as well as Bridgwater and Taunton College.
"There was this frustration that someone needed to start something," Mr Griffiths said.
"We want to grow a community of digital professionals and entrepreneurs who can work with the wider business community."
He said the hub hoped to run workshops for businesses to share their tech needs and problems, and put them to tech firm audience to provide solutions.
Among the companies which have joined are Claims Consortium and UK Hydrographic Office.
Digital Taunton has also joined the Tech South West steering group to learn how places such as Exeter or Bristol have built up a tech sector.
The hub also hopes to get more young people in Somerset into the industry.
Bridgwater and Taunton College's assistant principal, Dave Alexander, said: "We have a huge skills deficit in digital technologies in the country and businesses in the south west are really feeling the pinch of it.
"There's a lot of businesses wanting to set up here and want to recruit digital skills and that's great because places like Exeter are booming but increasingly they're struggling to find those skills."
He added the college was planning to offer new digital courses for 16 to 18 year olds over the next two years.
The college said it also aimed to increase the number of its digital apprenticeships by using Digital Taunton to meet new firms.