Supporting Business Growth

Supporting the growth of our local economy through creating digital opportunities, improving infrastructure and supporting business

Bringing technology, data and communities together can result in a positive economic impact, operational excellence and improved quality of life.

Where we are now

Oxford has a strong and growing digital business sector, and we want to help this grow further. The city was a finalist in the European Capital of Innovation awards 2016.

Through our Smart Oxford partnership we are working with a wide range of city partners to deliver a strategic programme that will develop and promote Oxford as a smart city. The Vision of Smart Oxford is of a city where innovative ideas, active citizens, and aligned stakeholders come together to co-create a better Oxford.

Through Super Connected Oxford we are using £5m funding from Government to become a Super Connected City; offering free Wi-Fi access in 40 public buildings and on all buses operating in the Oxford City Zone.

As part of the Super Connected City programme we provided funding vouchers to over 500 local businesses to help them upgrade to faster internet access. We are working towards a wireless concession scheme that could offer free Wi-Fi access and improved mobile coverage in Oxford.

With partners, Better Broadband for Oxfordshire is investing £30.1m in a programme to bring fibre-enabled broadband (speeds of 24mbps and above) to over 95 per cent of homes and businesses by the end of 2017.

How we need to change

We will;

  • Work with partners to ensure that the digital infrastructure and investment necessary to support growth is in place
  • Work with partners to ensure the digital skills needs of employers in and around Oxford are met
  • Run a Smart Oxford Challenge to help raise awareness of Smart Oxford, capture the public’s imagination and help them understand how technology and data can provide benefits and improve how the city operates more effectively and efficiently
  • Identify ways to improve transactions between local government and business to make them more efficient, effective and easier to use.
  • Ensure any new IT systems use open standards and open APIs so that we can increase the range of suppliers and products we can work with
  • Seek to meet our digital development needs from local suppliers wherever possible

Key Facts

  • Oxford’s digital business sector is worth £1.2bn, and has a seen a 19% GVA growth between 2010-2014. It attracted £106m investment during 2016
  • The sector has also seen a 32% employment growth between 2011-2014 and has the second highest concentration of digital tech employment
  • There are at least 1.2m small businesses in the UK without a website or online presence
  • 85% of consumers search online before buying, and will go elsewhere if they cannot find a business
  • 32% of digital tech businesses feel Oxford has a limited digital infrastructure