By Max Clarke

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s announcement last week that the Government were launching a £200 million initiative to create six to eight Technology Innovation Centres is ‘long overdue’ according to Mark Mason, the founder of Mubaloo the UK’s largest SmartPhone application developer.

SmartPhone and tablet computer applications are a huge growth area and the way forward for businesses,” said Mr Mason, “but as a country we are not training software specialists who can develop ‘apps’.”

“Mubaloo have recruited forty ‘app’ developers in the last twelve months but we have difficulty finding experienced staff. In many cases, we have to employ computer science graduates and train them ourselves.”

Mr Clegg said that the Technology Innovation Centres will sit between universities and commerce and aim to enable cutting-edge research to be introduced to businesses more quickly.

Government is now inviting applications from businesses, universities and other organisations who think that they would be able to create a Centre dedicated to high-value manufacturing.

“The new technology innovation centres will help to equip UK industry with the ability to capitalise on the future global market opportunities by drawing on leading edge research,” said Business Secretary Vince Cable. “They form a key part of the Government’s work to rebalance the UK economy and create new high-value private sector jobs.”

“I agree totally with the Business Secretary’s sentiments,” Said Mr Mason, “but what worries me is the amount of time it has taken to get this initiative underway. High-tech British businesses are already hampered by lack of suitably trained specialists.”

Government is planning future Technology and Innovation Centres focused on energy and resource efficiency, transport, ICT and electronics, healthcare, and photonics and electrical systems.