Précis

London Technology Week was launched on 16 June 2014, showcasing London’s role as the digital capital of Europe and allowing the industry’s top professionals to share ideas and build business relationships.

What?

Over 200 independently run events including conferences, lectures and workshops took place to mark the first London Technology Week, focusing on financial technology, digital art, retail, advertising and gaming. Attended by an estimated 30,000 people including business leaders and technology professionals, the week provided a platform to discuss, formulate and promote policy aimed at driving forward the UK’s IT sector.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, opened the week, calling it “a superb opportunity to hail the success of London’s tech sector, which despite only being in adolescence already makes a tremendous contribution to our economy.” Gordon Innes, CEO of London & Partners, the Mayor’s official promotional organisation for London, stated that, “like London Fashion Week is for the Fashion Industry we hope this brand new event will be a global magnet for the world’s tech sector.”

So what?

Coinciding with the launch of London Technology Week, as we mentioned in our last e-briefing, new research by Oxford Economics shows how rapidly London’s technology sector is expanding and the increasingly important role that it plays.

Meanwhile, research by South Mountain Economics revealed that the technology and information sector in London is growing faster than that of California, and that London now employs more workers in financial technology than New York and San Francisco’s Silicon Valley.

It still appears likely that the UK technology sector is only going to become very prominent in the future. However, Tech London Advocates, a private sector led coalition of expert individuals from the sector, believe that the industry’s future development could be threatened by a lack of interest and emerging talent in the field locally. Events such as London Technology Week will therefore serve to bring attention to the sector, paving the way for a significant new and high value series of similar technical events. We spoke about the need to have the right skills to grow as suggested on the article linked to above.

To mark the opening of the London Technology Week, almost 2,000 new apprentices will be recruited within the industry. A number of large companies will take on up to 200 apprentices each, with one company pledging to hire more than 1,200 new apprentices. These pledges demonstrate London’s commitment to growing this sector to the UK economy and increase the awareness and confidence in the sector to a new generation of technology entrepreneurs.

Conor Rafferty