Cambridge, AKA Silicon Fen

Silicon Fen is made up of many high-tech and scientifically driven companies located in and around Cambridge. The majority of the companies began life as extensions and spin-offs from the University of Cambridge as academics and graduates extend into new ventures and businesses from their research.  It all started in the 1960’s and is a fascinating spectacle unique to Cambridge and known as The Cambridge Phenomenon. This development is what has led to the area being known as Silicon Fen as it’s compared to California’s, Silicon Valley. Due to its links with the university and the innovative financing this provides, Silicon Fen has continued to prosper.

The Geography

Silicon Fen hasn’t been exactly confined to a specific area but it’s approximately within a 20-mile radius around the City of Cambridge. The name ‘Fen’ has come from the large area of boggy marshland to the north of the City of Cambridge itself.

The History

It’s thanks to the University of Cambridge and it’s history of fantastic innovation and impeccable track record of technological and scientific advancements and developments, that Silicon Fen is in existence today. Cambridge University is a world famous location for innovation and science and has produced some of the world’s most famous scientists. The first company to be formed as a result of the university was the ‘Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company’, founded in 1881 by Horace Darwin, the son of Charles Darwin.

A report published in 1950 suggested further technological and scientific business developments should be positioned in the areas outside of the City, helping to maintain the character of Cambridge as a university town. The government accepted the report but it meant that all development and research ventures needed to be conducted outside of Cambridge.

In 1967, a sub committee of the Senate of the University of Cambridge advised on relaxing the planning restrictions allowing the development of a Science Park. The Cambridge Science Park was established, the first ever of its kind in the UK and a ground breaking facility for small and large companies aimed at developing ideas in the name of science and technology. Research into the area has continued ever since, with even more suggestions of ways to improve development and stimulate growth for the future.

The Finance

Financing the area has never really been seen as a problem, helped by the fact that there are over 100 high tech companies in the Silicon Fen area, which together generates over £1.5 billion in revenue. Additionally, the interest from foreign banks and investors who have backed many of the highly advanced and innovative start-up businesses has ensured the future of Silicon Fen for many years to come.  Silicon Fen is the second largest venture capital market in the world, second only to Silicon Valley in California.

The University of Cambridge is at the heart of this fascinating development which is integral to the British economy and a world leader in research and development.

Jon Lamming writes on various topics about Cambridge Man and Van removal services, house clearance, storage and packing. Besides writing for blogs Jon enjoys surfing all over the world, Thai Boxing and being a father to his two girls, Emily and Olivia.

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