Promoting Cambridge – Project detail

Promoting Cambridge – Project detail


Concluded in Spring 2015. The team has now dispersed to work on other projects.

In its year of existence, the team worked on two initiatives:

1. Data
Worked with key figures to update the Cambridge Cluster Map, which is a very useful tool that accesses a wide range of hard data on companies – from turnover and employee numbers through to industry sector and company location – and visualises it in the form of a map. The Map gives anyone anywhere in the world access to key information on the Cambridge Cluster and its companies and demonstrates how ‘big data’ techniques can be applied to provide sophisticated insight on an entire business community.

The Growth Project team sought to integrate the Cluster Map data with its own data sources and modelling, to produce a much-enhanced tool which created an even greater insight to outsiders and thus a more compelling proposition for Cambridge. The Cluster Map website is currently unavailable due to its upgrade being implemented.

In early November 2014, the Cambridge 50 web site was launched. The site makes it easy and transparent to identify the fastest growing companies in Cambridge and to find contacts to invest, work or partner with them. All the companies listed have grown by at least 20% per annum over two successive years, measured by their revenue or the number of people they employ. Cambridge 50 is the ‘scale-up’ companion site of the Cambridge Cluster Map and both will form important components of the strategy for promoting Cambridge.

2. A Promotional Agency for Cambridge
The team recognised that the need for a central body that could promote Cambridge as a great place to do business had never been greater. Cambridge is fortunate that many companies wish to locate R&D here, but the city region faces strong competition from around the world. It was clear to the team that Cambridge needs to build larger, enduring companies, encourage trade and investment and create the businesses of the future so as to assure longer-term prosperity.

Discussions took place with Central Government and UKTI but eventually funding for the new agency was agreed, the City Deal Executive undertaking to contribute matched funding of £150,000 over two years. Cambridge Ahead and Cambridge Network are each contributing £60,000. The agency also has the support of the GCGP LEP, Cambridge County Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council. It is now up and running as part of Cambridge Network, and carries out various roles, including:

  • Helping companies to trade with Cambridge, to do their research and development, and to make investments here.
  • Support the growth of Cambridge companies and look after those multinationals who have already decided to locate here.
  • A ‘one stop shop’ for inward visits − it will receive and host potential investors.
  • A clearing-house and advisory service, and building on what Cambridge Network does already, will share knowledge expertise and opportunities.

The Cambridge Brand
The project team believed there is a compelling need for a brand for Greater Cambridge that incorporates the universities of Cambridge, its enterprises, its people, culture and other unique traits and qualities. However, with its dissolution, it will be for the head of the new promotional agency to decide if and when this happens.