( Post 4 of 25 )
A big on-going issue that has been affecting South Wales concerns its lack of perception as a startup hub outside of the usual places, such as Silicon Valley and London. It’s a frustration, as we – in South Wales – all know that our part of the world has so much potential on the entrepreneurship front. Helping to broadcast this message, we’re honoured to publish this short but sweet call-to-arms by Neil Cocker, a very well-known Cardiff entrepreneur who – even before he co-founded Cardiff Start – is often considered to be the figurehead of South Wales startups.
I recently gave a talk at Bloomberg HQ in London in which I extolled the virtues of Cardiff as a place to build a startup. Most of the content will come as no surprise to those of us with any experience of the city. I bored them to death with news of the awards for the best quality of life, and how we’re flying high at the top of the Liveable Cities index. I told them about how our rents and wage costs were a fraction of theirs, and how our population is young, creative and educated. I bombarded them with pictures of Cardiff Bay, Penarth Pier and the Brecon Beacons, and I waxed lyrical about our world class sporting facilities.
But in amongst all the stuff that us Cardiffians instinctively know – and often take for granted – were some stats that really made the audience’s eyes light up. And this may be information about our big, little city that comes as news to you, too. The fact is that Cardiff is growing incredibly quickly. To be more precise, it’s due to grow its population by over 40% in the next 20 years. And this makes it the fastest growing core city in the UK, and the fastest growing capital city in Europe.
Every city in the world – with a few notable exceptions – is growing. For the first time in history, more people live in cities than outside them. Someone recently described it as the fastest, biggest demographic shift in the history of humanity. And Cardiff is leading this growth in the UK. And with growth, comes opportunity. The opportunity to take advantage of the influx of talent, and money, and buildings, and media, and culture, and restaurants and all the other things that follow when tens of thousands of people move into a new space, looking to build their lives in new and exciting ways.
And the story of Cardiff’s growth is a message we should be shouting from the top of our increasingly big buildings, and from the campuses of our rapidly-growing universities. If you want to build a startup, or headquarter an existing one, then there is nowhere better in the country – indeed in the UK – to tap into growth and a young, talented populace than our own fair city. It’s a message that the community around Cardiff Start – our city’s own tech startup community – is proud to be sharing at every opportunity, because as entrepreneurs, we’re really good at spotting potential.
Cardiff is growing, quickly. Tell everybody.