The association for the people and businesses of Sheffield's digital industries.

talent 23, a year of talent and skills

a year of talent and skills

Record levels of regional startup activity in 2023

A record 617 tech startups were formed in South Yorkshire in 2023 according to a new report from SYMCA.

A new report, published on 24 April 2024 to mark the inaugural UK Tech Week celebration of tech ecosystems across the UK, shows that South Yorkshire’s tech sector saw record levels of home-grown startup activity and attracted more tech company relocations than ever in 2023.

The report, published by South Yorkshire Combined Mayoral Authority, and titled South Yorkshire: Investment & Innovation in an Emerging Tech Ecosystem, reveals that:

  • A record 617 tech startups were formed in South Yorkshire in 2023, more than ever before and an increase of a fifth (18 per cent) from 2022. Combined with falling tech failures, which declined for the second year running, South Yorkshire experienced a net gain of 88 home-grown tech companies last year, with growing numbers of active tech companies in every major urban area. 
  • There are at least 4,588 tech companies in South Yorkshire today – more than ever before. The region is a major centre of cleantech innovation and home to significant business activity in software development, life sciences, data, bioscience, advanced materials and photonics.
  • An influx of tech companies from outside South Yorkshire is bolstering the tech sector. Analysis of businesses registered at popular tech locations in South Yorkshire found that 29% were previously based outside the region and that 2023 was the busiest year yet for relocations.
  • Tech Welcome Grants totalling £130,000 have helped 29 companies specialising in high-value activities such as robotics, data analytics, and cyber security establish their first facilities in South Yorkshire and supported the creation of more than 140 jobs worth a combined £6.1 million a year.
  • Investment in tech companies based in South Yorkshire has been more resilient than elsewhere in the UK. Data from analysts Beauhurst show South Yorkshire’s tech startups secured funding totalling £209 million between 2019 and 2023. Although tech investment in South Yorkshire declined by 38 per cent between 2022 and 2023, this was a less profound decline than the 54 per cent reduction in overall UK tech funding reported by Atomico last year.

Tracey Johnson, Project Director at TECH SY, comments: “South Yorkshire’s tech sector is growing in significance and success, expanding despite headwinds and challenges in the global economy, and outperforming many other ambitious locations in attracting the talent and investment needed to turn great ideas into even better businesses. This report underscores South Yorkshire’s emergence as a dynamic tech hub, fueled by innovation, talent, and a supportive community.”

Sheffield Digital Director, Mel Kanarek, adds: “The region’s tech startup scene is picking up fantastic momentum and this report reflects that, with impressive numbers to back up what we are all witnessing.

“The narrative of our region is becoming stronger and clearer. Soon, people will no longer need to ask ‘Why South Yorkshire?’, because the reasons for starting a business here are widely understood and acknowledged at national and international level. The investment opportunities, infrastructure, community collaboration and support, research and innovation, and talent that we have means that any tech startup can thrive in South Yorkshire.”

Visit to download a copy of South Yorkshire: Investment & Innovation in an Emerging Tech Ecosystem report.