Since its humble beginnings in 2002, the London technology scene has become a vibrant centre of innovation and entrepreneurship. With its legacy of international industry and diverse population, London is not only an international economic capital, it is also a jumping point to the rest of Europe, Africa and Asia. As a relatively newcomer to the industry, the London tech scene is still eager to prove itself. Its close-knit community attracts start-ups from all over the world, and as recent news indicates, thousands of entrepreneurs – many from the US – are launching their businesses in the British capital.
Between 2009 and 2012 the sector in London grew by 16.6% as seen in the Telegraphs technology in jobs data visualisation graphic below. The number of technology and digital companies in London increased by 76%, from 49,969 to 88,215. The digital economy itself now accounts for 8.3% of Britain’s GDP and reports forecast that this will increase to 12.4% by 2016.
Entrepreneurs have access to guidance; training and investment opportunities through the government funded Tech City UK, Accelerators and Incubators such as Campus Google and TechStars, and the many seminars, networking and demo events held by co-working spaces such as Hoxton Mix.
Government policies and programmes like the EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) and SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme) have helped branch out the technological and digital landscape for entrepreneurs. Fiscal policies such as R&D Tax Credits and Patent Box, programs like Entrepreneur Visa, the Future Fifty, Opening Government Procurement, changes to IPO regulations and the creation of the High Growth Segment on the London Stock Exchange are policies that are helping out. They offer growth businesses many benefits and encourage more investors to support these high-growth companies.
With London’s technology and digital sector mushrooming, a number of clusters have cropped up across London; take a look at the expanding developments in London:
Google’s new London Headquarters in King’s Cross are currently set to open in 2017. The 920,000 square foot building will provide work areas for 5,000 workers. The move is expected to draw other technology companies to King's Cross.
Fin-tech accelerator, Level 39 (Canary Wharf), is already an integral part of London’s tech scene and is Europe’s largest accelerator space for finance, retail and future cities technology companies.
Croydon Tech City, is known as the Silicon Valley and located in the South of London. A community of software developers, venture capitalists, digital talents and technology startup founders who are all committed to wanting to make Croydon the newest technology cluster in London.
ICity, a new digital quarter located in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will be a centre of innovation, education and enterprise, with more than 7,500 jobs, Hackney Community College providing the UK’s first digital apprenticeship scheme and Loughborough University providing a new research centre.
West London has a $3billion vision whereby the 25-acre innovation and research campus of Imperial College London will promote and develop new investment in research, enhance economic growth and give a boost to the London start-up scene. The co-location of healthcare, research and business on this scale will be unprecedented globally.
These London hubs will all bring together entrepreneurs, academics, investors and technologists to create the next generation of big data application.
Effects on employment
Credit: The Effects of Technology in Jobs: Data Visualisation Graphic courtesy of the Telegraph technology jobs team.