The Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI), a technology hub created to spearhead a digital revolution across Hull and Humber and the wider northern region, sees its official opening today (Wednesday, December 16th).
The £4m, 22,000sqft building, developed by the Wykeland Group, will form the centre of the £14m @TheDock scheme and will be home to some of the most innovative start-ups and businesses working in the UK today.
Featuring KC’s Lightsteam broadband service, it brings the UK’s fastest internet connection speeds to Hull, providing download speeds from 250Mbps to 1Gbps and upload speeds of between 125Mbps and 500Mbps. The official opening was carried out by Claire Braithwaite, head of Tech North at Tech City UK.
Claire said: “The approach Wykeland has taken to the development of the C4DI building demonstrates their progressive approach and commitment to Hull.
“By providing a focal point for the digital community, this landmark building will play a key role in growing and developing the digital economy in Hull and will help ensure Hull’s place as a leading digital cluster in the UK.”
The spectacular gold-clad building, designed by Enjoy Architects and based in Hull’s Fruit Market, has been created to fulfil three criteria – to facilitate the creation of digital and tech start-ups, create a thriving digital community and help conventional businesses innovate and grow by using technology more effectively.
It provides hot-desking facilities for tech-based start-up firms and offices from 200sqft upwards to accommodate growing and established digital and technology businesses.
Dominic Gibbons, Managing Director of Wykeland Group, said the aims of C4DI were aligned with the Northern Powerhouse initiative and would see Hull leading the way with digital innovation and the creation of a digital economy in the North.
Mr Gibbons said: “The digital economy in Hull and Humber is a significant contributor to the region’s GDP and that would have continued to grow at a steady pace. But the regional digital and tech community needs to be better than that. The digital industries are such a fundamental area of growth that we wanted to make sure we are leading in terms of talent, ideas and innovation.
“C4DI is the centrepiece of that – it is a collaborative environment where people in the digital and tech industries can think, work, share ideas and ultimately come up with technologies that will shape our future world.”
Mr Gibbons said he was delighted to see C4DI’s official opening, adding: “We have a substantial development programme at the moment and C4DI has to be one of our most exciting as it is far more than a building,” he said.
“It looks spectacular but it is what is happening and will happen inside the building that will have a long lasting impact on the regional economy.”
The building has been developed and funded by the Wykeland Group with the assistance of a grant from the European Regional Development Fund. More than 90 per cent of the offices on the first three floors have already been signed up to.
John Connolly, Managing Director of C4DI Ltd, the operating company for the building, said: “C4DI Ltd is a company whose objective is to assist the growth of the local and regional tech and digital sector. “To achieve that we needed a space for it to happen in and that idea gave birth to the idea of C4DI the building, the opening of which we are celebrating today.
“Our vision was to create a unique, vibrant specialist business space that would help drive the region’s tech and digital sector forward and we have worked in partnership with the likes of KC, Hull Digital, the University of Hull and numerous local and national tech companies to achieve that.
“We also wanted to create a space where partnerships between the region’s non-digital businesses and the tech companies can develop as this is where a huge amount of value can be realised from C4DI. It is not just about creating start-ups, it is about collaborating with companies that need bespoke digital and tech solutions and helping them to realise those. By doing that we enable the entire region’s economy to grow while at the same time dramatically enhancing the links between mainstream industry and the tech community.”
Claire Braithwaite, head of Tech North at Tech City UK, officially opening C4DI with John Connolly, managing director of C4DI Ltd (left) and Dominic Gibbons, managing director of the Wykeland Group (right).