Introduction

This year has been another exciting one, both for Digital Catapult and for me as Chair, and the Annual Engagement & Impact Report highlights the work Digital Catapult has undertaken, our impact and our achievements.

Can you describe the journey Digital Catapult has been since it was established?

When the Catapult network was established, advanced digital technologies were still at a very early stage of their development and adoption and Digital Catapult became a key organisation in helping to lay the foundations for connecting innovative startups and industry. As these technologies have evolved further over the past five years and become part of the broad discussions across the economy, it is clear that by building upon our early work, there is a huge opportunity for Digital Catapult to help deliver economic growth and enhance productivity for the UK. We have seen this through our innovation and technology programmes, helping to drive research and development from the lab into commercial reality, supporting open innovation to foster the startup ecosystem and developing collaborative projects that push the boundaries of what emerging technologies can offer industry.

How do you summarise Digital Catapult’s place in the UK tech landscape?

Since I’ve been Chair, I have witnessed a step change in the role that advanced digital technologies have had in business, both large and small, in the startup and scaleup community, and in society at large. Over the last five years Digital Catapult has cemented its position as a central point in the UK tech landscape, working alongside UKRI, InnovateUK, the eight other Catapults and many hundreds of stakeholders in the UK’s innovation landscape.

What’s been your highlight for this year?

The 120 talented and committed people who work at Digital Catapult are its biggest asset, and I’m privileged to see first-hand the impact that our business, and this dedicated group of people, are having on growing the UK economy through the application of advanced digital technologies. £100m of investment in the last 12 months spread between over 90 companies and welcoming more than 600 businesses through the doors of Digital Catapult are major highlights for this financial year.

What has been a favourite or personal highlight from the last five years?

In the beginning Digital Catapult was a startup helping startups. When I joined it had three employees and no centre. Neil Crockett and the early team built it into something real and Jeremy and the current team have taken it forward creating world class facilities across the UK. There is now a real buzz and purpose about the place and the impact on the economy is becoming obvious. Sometimes we’ve had to fight hard for the digital sector but it’s been worth it. The highlight for me is the way the leadership and people who’ve worked at Digital Catapult have created a world class capability for the UK.

What’s next?

At the end of last year, I decided to step down as Chair of Digital Catapult. As the founding Chair, I’m very proud to have steered the organisation through its inception and its successes in the last five years and I can see the impact that Digital Catapult has had is clear, particularly in the UK’s vibrant startup ecosystem. To conclude, I’d like to extend my thanks to the other members of the Board for their support, and warmest wishes to Digital Catapult’s new Chair Juergen Maier.

Andy Green
Outgoing Chair of Digital Catapult