London cements its status as Europe’s most important tech hub

tech hubA new report launched to coincide with London Technology Week claims that London has cemented its position as the most important tech hub in Europe and will boost the UK economy by £18bn in 2015. According to the event’s organisers, London’s technology sector is growing faster than both the overall economies of London and the whole UK and will continue to do so for the next decade. The figures show that the number of companies in London’s digital technology sector has grown by 46 percent since the launch of the Tech City programme. The sector now employs almost 200,000 people, 17 percent more than in 2010. Other research from EY claims to show London’s dominance of the European tech sector. 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).

According to the event’s organisers, the increase in investment in 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 Bullhound3 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.

London’s tech sector is also one of the world’s most diverse according to research from Wayra, Telefónica’s digital start-up accelerator4. 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.

Another giant of the tech world, Amazon, yesterday announced that it had 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.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP yesterday launched the first ever dedicated online hub for the capital’s thriving digital industry. Sponsored by IBM the Tech.London website includes 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.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP 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.”

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.”