‘A beautiful town that needs future’: Ipswich urged to embrace ‘change and progress’ ahead of major technology conference

The launch event for last year's dev://east conference in Ipswich, which was sponsored by IJYI. Pict

The launch event for last year's dev://east conference in Ipswich, which was sponsored by IJYI. Picture: Max Shelley - Credit: Archant

It is a “beautiful town” steeped in history and tradition.

But leaders of some of the UK’s most hi-tech firms visiting Ipswich this week are warning the Suffolk town’s future depends on embracing “change and progress” in technology.

Even though it is perhaps better known for its more old-fashioned industries, entrepreneurs say Ipswich’s technology sector is surprising even the likes of Norwich and Cambridge with its growth.

The town already boasts major firms such as BT, Huawei and Oracle, but it is said there has been a growth in new hi-tech start-ups for the first time in three years.

As a mark of the sector’s rise in the town, Ipswich will host its second dev://east conference at the Corn Exchange on Friday, March 15 to showcase the work of some of the area’s up and coming tech firms.

But the event’s lead organiser Emily-Jayne Crittenden said the town needs to continue to embrace technology and support young start-ups in order to grow.

“The technology scene is growing in Ipswich after a couple of years of stagnation,” she said.

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“We’ve seen growth in Ipswich in terms of the number of companies starting up - it has grown for the first time in three years.

“Tech companies in Ipswich are definitely becoming more prominently known.

“Although you’ve got quite a large set of bigger businesses, you have quite a lot of home-grown businesses that are becoming well-known and established - those are the ones to watch. We want to give them good exposure.”

She praised those firms for the way they have put Ipswich on the map, saying: “It’s something that’s important and needs to be commended.

“They’ve given up their time for their family and their Netflix so they can grow the community here in Ipswich and make sure their children have an economic future.

“It is important for Ipswich to continue having a technology focus, because economically it has a very different history.

“Things need to change and progress and this is one way of doing it.

“When you think of Ipswich, you think of culture and art - and the creative scene there is really strong.

“You have lots of independent shops, which is lovely - and it’s a beautiful town that needs a future. Technology is the future.”

However she does not believe that technology needs to replace traditional industries - just that they need to work together in a “wonderful collaboration”.

dev://east starts at 8am on Friday and includes talks from technology leaders such as Alex Pond from The Fabric, Paul Foster at Microsoft and Paul Graham a Matrixx.

For more information and to book tickets, visit deveast.uk