Digital Festival brings 2,000 innovators and investors to Cardiff

More than 2,000 innovators and investors from across the UK are gathering at popular arts venue Tramshed in Cardiff for the opening of the Digital Festival.

The two-day event, organised by Innovation Point, will highlight Wales's potential and growing role in the digital revolution. It will give Welsh tech companies the opportunity to put themselves on the map too.

Held for the fifth year, it comes at an exciting time for the country's technology sector. Last week, a 37.9 million deal was signed for South Wales to become home to the world's first compound semiconductor cluster.

The cluster, which will be led by the likes of IQE Plc, is expected to attract 375 million in private investment and create 2,000 high-skilled jobs in the region.

Digital Festival is being supported by a range of high-profile companies and organisations, including Microsoft, GoCompare, London Stock Exchange, Accenture, Lexon and techUK.

A host of big names will share talks around the technologies that will shape the future. They include Fortune and TIME digital strategist Inma Martinez, techUK president Jacqueline de Rojas and Dragons Den star Rachel Elnaugh.

The event will also provide delegates with the opportunity to network and take part in workshops covering topics such as artificial intelligence, 5G, digital manufacturing and growth finance.

And this evening, a GoCompare-sponsored boat will sail from Cardiff to Penarth, where Chris Griffiths of software development firm OpenGenius will livestream a talk from the London Stock Exchange headquarters in London. It is the first Welsh company to be accepted onto LSE's prestigious ELITE programme.

Ken Skates, cabinet secretary for economy and infrastructure, welcomed festival-goers this morning. He said: "Businesses in Wales are undoubtedly at the forefront of the tech revolution.

"The Welsh Compound Semiconductor Cluster is the first cluster of its kind in the world, developing the technology that will shape the way we live our lives tomorrow.

"The cyber security solutions developed in Wales have an international reputation and help safeguard our citizens and businesses; and the technology being developed in Wales is changing the way we bank, shop and access vital services.

"Digital festival is celebrating everything Wales has to offer the technological revolution, and it's great to see industry leaders, start-ups, and everyday tech lovers come to the Welsh capital for the event."

David Warrender, chief executive of event organiser Innovation Point, added: "Something's happening here in the Welsh tech scene, from enabling Apple's latest bit of kit to do what it does right through to investment announcements from our Digital Dozen.

"With smart startups scaling up, it won't be long before Wales has its first unicorn company. Maybe then it won't just be the insiders who tip our tech scene for great things."

Picture of Cardiff, credit: Bigstock

Nicholas Fearn is a freelance technology journalist and copywriter from the Welsh valleys. His work has appeared in publications such as the FT, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, the Next Web, T3, Android Central, Computer Weekly, and many others. He also happens to be a diehard Mariah Carey fan. You can follow Nicholas on Twitter.