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£50million to create institute in Tech City

Thursday, December 6, 2012
10:48 AM

A £50million centre to be built in Tech City will help the “next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg” hail from east London.

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The Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Prime Minister David Cameron announced the funding for the flagship technical and creative institute this morning.

The institute, which will be located in the community around Silicon Roundabout in Old Street, aims to foster the next generation of leading digital entrepreneurs, with Mr Johnson saying he believes the “next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg, will hail not from Silicon Valley but from this small corner of London”.

Plans for the development were launched at the Urban Age Conference, organised by the LSE Cities at the London School of Economics and Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society, and supported by the Mayor.

Mr Johnson said: “The 2012 Games were a catalyst for enormous change in east London, with a new quarter of the capital now primed to become the world’s most thriving centre for technology and innovation.

“The time is right to lay solid foundations in Tech City for London’s digital revolution. The institute will provide not only a vital resource to nurture upcoming technology and creative superstars from around the world, it will drive huge investment into the capital and help create thousands of jobs.

“I am absolutely convinced that the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg, will hail not from Silicon Valley but from this small corner of London, and it’s my hope that this exciting new centre will be pivotal in their creation.”

The government-funded project will be delivered in conjunction with the Greater London Authority.

The institute will:

•Provide a business resource for 200 start-ups per year, and host a mentoring network for aspiring entrepreneurs.

•Host two major international conferences for global tech and creative industries each year.

•Help 1,000 young people each year find skilled employment, and support initiatives which make recruitment easier such as providing support around Visa applications for overseas workers.

•Engage up to 50,000 school children with enterprise programmes such as Coder Camp, TeenTech, and Computer Science for Fun.

•Support the growth of Digital Shoreditch Festival to an audience of 200,000.

•Lead 10 inward investment salons each year, and 10 overseas trade delegations with UKTI and the Mayor’s promotional agency London & Partners.

The institute will also provide a home for third party “apps” including Digital Shoreditch, a festival for tech entrepreneurs, and Y Combinator, which supports start-ups by bringing them into contact with venture capitalists and sponsors.

London FabLab, an open fabrication workshop, will be based at the centre and will provide local schools with free access to technology such as 3D printers and laser cutters, along with the expertise to be able to use them.

Mr Cameron said: “Two years ago I set out my commitment to help Tech City become one of the world’s great technology centres. Today we are seeing it continue to grow and go from strength to strength - and that is down to the talented, creative entrepreneurs who have set up there.

“The UK is in a global race and I am determined that we as a Government continue doing everything we can to equip the UK to compete and thrive in that race.

“That’s why we’re investing in creating the largest civic space in Europe – a place for start-up companies and the local community to come together and become the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

A feasibility study into potential locations and costs of the institute is currently being carried out and is expected to be complete in the New Year. It is intended that the centre will be based near the Old Street roundabout, at the gateway to Tech City.

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