Mayor launches tech initiatives to boost sector

The Mayor of London has launched two major tech initiatives to boost the sector and help harness the capital’s tech talent to make life better for Londoners.

Speaking at WIRED Live at Tobacco Dock in east London, the Mayor announced that City Hall will fund 20 investment days over the next four years, to give innovative tech firms the opportunity to attract crucial funding to enable them to grow.

Each event, run by the UK Business Angels Association, will focus on a specific area of tech and will offer coaching to the leaders of hose burgeoning companies.

The GLA will provide £280,000 in funding, which will be matched in kind by the UKBAA. The programme will be structured so it will be entirely self-funding by the end of the four years.

Sadiq also announced that Bloomberg Associates will help shape the new Smart London Plan, in partnership with the Smart London Board.

The document will outline in detail how the Mayor plans to achieve his ambition of harnessing the new technologies being pioneered in the capital to transform London into one of the world’s leading smart cities.

Sadiq made a commitment in his manifesto to take tech in the capital to the next level by removing barriers to growth and ensuring London becomes a global tech hub.

He has launched a series of measures to support the initiatives. Most recently, in August, he appointed London’s first-ever Chief Digital Officer, who will lead on ensuring the city’s tech expertise and talent feeds into providing better public services for Londoners.

He also announced a £7 million Digital Talent programme which will tackle the growing shortage in digitally-skilled workers - focusing on Londoners aged 16-24, particularly women and those from a BAME background.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “London’s tech sector is already the envy of cities the across the globe and I’m determined to ensure we become the world’s leading tech hub.

“Since I became Mayor, the capital has attracted significant investment from the biggest players in this sector – Google, Facebook and Apple, to name just three.

“This is a clear sign London is open for business – but beyond these huge names, London remains a fantastic breeding ground for innovative young tech firms looking to break new ground across a range of industries.

“With the two initiatives I’m announcing today, we will enable these start-ups to grow and develop, as well as harness the expertise and innovative across our tech sector to help make life better for all Londoners.”

Jenny Tooth, CEO of UK Business Angels Association, said: “London is a global centre of tech innovation and we are delighted to be supporting this initiative by showcasing some of the most exciting innovators from across the capital to leading players in the investment community.

“This will enable these businesses to access the finance they need to successfully build and scale.”

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