Prime Minister David Cameron says he wants the East End to rival California’s Silicon Valley and become one of the ‘world’s great technology centres’.
Cameron also proposes to create an entrepreneur visa to allow people with ‘good business ideas’ and ‘financial backing’ to set up their business in the UK as part of the push to attract international talent.
Cameron says: ‘Right now, Silicon Valley is the leading place in the world for high-tech growth and innovation.
‘But there’s no reason why it has to be so predominant.
‘Our ambition is to bring together the creativity and energy of Shoreditch and the incredible possibilities of the Olympic Park to help make East London one of the world’s great technology centres.’
Co-founder of investment fund Notional Capital, Ben White, says that while the move to make East London a technology hub is ‘incredibly positive news’, the government should not forget about encouraging British talent.
White says: ‘The new entrepreneur visas will undoubtedly do their part in bringing in foreign investment and entrepreneurs, which will add greatly to the mix of businesses and culture of the proposed east London Tech City.
‘But it is important that we don’t neglect the home-grown entrepreneurs that our economic growth depends upon.’
The Prime Minister’s announcement has caused concern in other regions of the UK. Neil Rami, head of inward investment programme Business Birmingham, is worried that ‘a move towards consolidating the technology industry’ could be detrimental to regions that have already invested in facilities to make themselves attractive to start-ups.
Adds Rami, ‘It is vital that the East London technology hub has spin-off benefits for the rest of the UK and does not cannibalise thriving technology industries outside of London and the South East.’