Boris Johnson learns coding as Tech Week kicks off across the city
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, is helping launch London Tech Week alongside IBM, Amazon and Google.
He will today help to launch the first ever dedicated online hub for the capital’s digital industry.
He said: "With our unrivalled mix of investors, talent and creativity it is hardly surprising that tech businesses and entrepreneurs are clamouring to be part of the incredible London tech story. This sector has flourished beyond recognition in the last five years, creating thousands of jobs and outpacing the rest of the economy. London Technology Week is rightly a celebration of that success. Now we need to continue our work to boost connectivity across the capital and arm the tech stars of the future with the skills they will need to drive forward this valuable industry for years to come."
Included in the activities is the ‘Tech.London’ website which is sponsored by IBM.
It will carry information and resources that people in London can use to access opportunities in the tech sector, connect with each other, and grow their businesses. Content includes London’s latest startups, investors, events, jobs, classes, blogs, videos, workspaces, accelerators, incubators, and other tech or startup resources.
London’s digital technology sector is growing faster than both the London and wider UK economy and will continue to do so for the next decade according to research from London & Partners, the Mayor’s promotional company for London.
The figures produced by Oxford Economics¹ show that the number of companies in London’s digital technology sector has grown by 46 per cent since the launch of the Tech City programme. The sector now employs almost 200,000 people, 17 per cent more than in 2010.
Research from the professional services firm EY released to mark the start of London Technology Week shows London’s dominance of tech across Europe, and the city’s attractiveness as a tech hub.
According to EY more than 1,000 international tech investment projects located in London between 2005-2014, significantly more than the next most attractive city, Paris (381) or the whole of France (853).
To mark the launch of London Technology Week the Mayor will today take part in a coding class with school pupils from Regent High School at the Camden City Learning Centre. Since 2013, The Mayor has invested more than £1.5m into computing in schools through his London Schools Excellence Fund delivering computer skills to almost 500 schools and nearly 50,000 pupils.
Gordon Innes, Chief Executive of London & Partners, the Mayor’s promotional company for London said: "Over the last decade more international tech investment projects have come to London than Paris, Dublin, Madrid, Amsterdam and Munich combined. It’s testament to London’s visionary tech entrepreneurs and international investors who have made London the most exciting place in the world for tech."
Mark Gregory, UK Chief Economist at EY said: "In the eyes of international investors, London is a truly world-class magnet for technology investment. Fostering innovation and the capital’s growing reputation for R&D investment appears to reflect the electrifying impact of the fast-growing tech sector. There is now a growing belief that next global tech giant will come from London."
The increase in investment flooding into London has also cemented the city’s position as the best place in Europe to build billion dollar technology companies. Figures from the analyst GP Bullhound show that in the last year 8 companies worth more than one billion dollars – known as ‘unicorns’ – have been created in the UK with seven of those in London.
Manish Madhvani, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of GP Bullhound, comments: "The UK has raced ahead as the undisputed home of unicorns in Europe, with London producing the vast majority of Britain’s billion dollar tech companies. Growth is accelerating because we have created an environment capable of sustaining high levels of investment across a range of tech sectors."
London’s tech sector is also one of the world’s most diverse according to research from Wayra, Telefónica’s digital start-up accelerator. It shows that in London women are three times more likely to be working in the startup community than in Silicon Valley.
The internet giant Google is leading a drive to create a more diverse and inclusive tech ecosystem by today launching a pilot programme for entrepreneurs over the age of 50. The ‘foundersover50’ programme, which will be run at Google Campus in London, follows on from the successful programme google has run for new mums and will aim to support older entrepreneurs grow their ideas for new businesses.
Speaking at the launch of London Technology Week, Eileen Naughton, Managing Director Google UK & Ireland will say: "Diversity has always been part of Google’s mission. Since we opened Campus London in 2012, we’ve supported a growing community of 42,000 entrepreneurs and developers. But we strongly believe that online products will only get better and more useful if we invite all segments of society to influence and create technology."
Another giant of the tech world, Amazon, today announced that it has completed the move of its corporate HQ operations to London including moving more than 2,000 jobs to the capital.
"We now have in excess of 2,000 permanent employees based in London in addition to the thousands of permanent employees in our UK fulfilment and customer service centres across the UK," said Christopher North, Managing Director Amazon UK. "We’re enabling tens of thousands of UK businesses to sell their products worldwide through Amazon Marketplace, powering British entrepreneurs and business start-ups through Amazon Web Services, and we have invested well over £1 billion in our UK infrastructure. The building of our new office in Shoreditch is a further illustration of the important role that London and the UK will play in our global operations."
London Technology Week, which is organised by UBM live in association with London & Partners and Tech London Advocates and ExCeL London, will run from 15-21 June. Hundreds of international companies and tens of thousands of visitors will come to London to take part in more than 200 events organised as part of London Technology Week. Featuring major global brands, including Bloomberg, Accenture, Stack Overflow and Goldman Sachs, as well as home-grown London-based tech companies such as Funding Circle and Blippar, London Technology Week will showcase the city’s role as the digital hub of Europe.
The former Olympic champion Denise Lewis will this morning launch a London vs New York schools challenge with the ed-tech company Skoolbo. Skoolbo, which is the largest educational game in the world, uses technology to help millions of children around the world learn to read, become confident with numbers and learn new languages.
The challenge will see primary school children in London and New York play against each other during Technology Week and it’s expected that more than one million questions will be answered.
The former Olympic champion, Denise Lewis, who is an international ambassador for Skoolbo said: "Technology can be a game changer for education. Thousands of children around the world either miss out on education or are disengaged from the system of learning. Skoolbo is about taking on those challenges that are often so difficult for children within literacy and numeracy. It’s child-led, it’s fun and it’s interactive. Go London!"
The Skoolbo schools challenge will run from June15-19 and involved hundreds of primary schools on both sides of the Atlantic. You can follow the progress of the challenge here or on Twitter using #NYvsLondon
Speaking about Tech.London, Sandy Carter, General Manager, IBM Cloud Ecosystem and Developers said: "We couldn’t be more excited to announce the launch of Tech.London, a centralized platform built on IBM Bluemix, for all of London’s technology and startup community. Through this new digital hub, IBM’s cloud technology is helping to connect and unite developers from across London, leading to new business ideas and continued growth for the local economy."