Internet and creative businesses located in London’s East End have the chance to secure up to £100,000 each in the government-backed competition launched in April. The programme, Tech City Launchpad, has now been expanded to give 20 businesses grants, which is double the original ten.
Organisers say the additional funding has been made available because of the ‘excellent calibre of investment-worthy proposals’ put forward. About 200 ideas were submitted.
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts says, ‘The Tech City Launchpad competition has already been a great success and the additional funding will enable us to double the number of small and micro companies and start-ups we are supporting.
‘The competition makes the most of the cluster of high tech companies in London, enabling those selected to go further and faster and transform their ideas into commercially reality,’ he adds.
Focused initially on companies in Tech City, the area around Old Street and Shoreditch in East London, the Launchpad competition aims to stimulate digital and creative industries. The area is home to more than 250 digital, creative and high-tech companies today and is Europe’s fastest growing technology hub.
The Technology Strategy Board is running the competition, which asks businesses located in the area to create a two-minute video submission outlining their business ideas. A board of community and expert industry members will assess the applications.
More than 40 applicants who were successful in the first round have now been invited to submit written proposals in the next two weeks. The offer of government funding will be used as a catalyst to attract match funding at a workshop, planned for August, which will involve potential investors such as business angels, venture capitalists.
If successful, the programme will be rolled out nationally.
Iain Gray, chief executive at the Technology Strategy Board, says, ‘By showing our faith and commitment to the successful companies through substantial financial support, we hope to make it easier for the businesses to secure the co-funding they need to help bring their ideas to life.
‘This unique competition is designed specifically to support growing companies in the digital economy and the creative sector, which are less capital-intensive than those in manufacturing.’