The UK’s digital economy is banking on a government initiative in east London called Tech City that leverages the innovation of a grassroots start-up scene. But what’s behind the name? Is there enough to ensure a thriving and sustainable cluster? Old Street is already being colloquially called "Silicon Roundabout", but what are east London’s enterprise strengths, and where does it need a boost?
The Tech City Talks series looks at an initiative announced last year by the prime minister, David Cameron. He pledged £200m for technology and innovation centres around the country - happy marriages of research and development aimed at bridging the gap between industry and university departments. One of the centres became a monster: Tech City.
So was Cameron surfing a wave of techno-hype or has his announcement propelled a groundswell? In this discussion, we ask how far the government has gone in its promises to build the digital entrepreneurship capital of Europe. Is there any meat on the Tech City skeleton, or is this a new age Cool Britannia led by the UK web pioneers from the last decade of web innovation?
The panellists for this discussion are Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government; Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, founder and CEO of Designswarm and co-founder of Tinker London and part of the Really Interesting Group; and Tara Solesbury, a digital media and creative industries consultant).