On 4 November 2010 David Cameron unveiled plans for East London Tech City. The coalition’s plans to support the emergence of a vibrant high tech cluster in East London include continued policy reform at a national level, attracting big investors to East London and to further regenerate East London using the Olympics assets to create accelerator spaces for start-ups and business development. More recently, George Osborne outlined support for Tech City as a key part of the government's industrial strategy.
The Tech City plans have generated a lot of excitement, but attempts around the world to grow high tech clusters have met with very mixed success and the way forward for East London is far from clear. Centre for London is undertaking evidence based research to identify the key factors that make East London an attractive place for digital start-ups, involving detailed interviews with entrepreneurs on the ground. Coupled with case study analysis of other tech clusters and interviews with stakeholders, the Centre will identify ideas for the development of London’s technology hub. We will assess the impact of the initiative to date and ask what a robustly developed, properly tested long-term strategy for the Shoreditch Triangle area, and London's digital sector as a whole, looks like.
Key questions include: how can London define a unique selling point and place in the global tech economy now and in the future? What can the government most appropriately do to support the growth of the cluster, and what are the policy support priorities of London’s ecology of tech firms? What are the risks of government intervening in a cluster that has so far developed quite organically? What can the London boroughs that border Tech City do to sustain its future? And what can London learn from international experience in the creation of tech economies?
For more information contact Rob Whitehead, Deputy Director for Research, Centre for London.
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