Cisco Invests in David Cameron’s Vision for East London Tech City
Following the announcement in November that David Cameron is pushing for East London to become a new ‘Tech City’, the PM’s plans are moving closer to fruition with the announcement that Cisco has pledged to invest over ┬ú310m into the project.
On Monday (31st January) Mr Cameron met with John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, to discuss and formalise the plans that would see the US-based multinational corporation investing heavily into the scheme, officially known as the British Innovation Gateway (BIG).
As one of the world’s biggest technology and electronics companies, Cisco’s involvement has been welcomed by the PM, which he believes will strengthen and boost the UK economy.
“This will help create many new jobs and opportunities, and support our drive to diversify our economy and generate sustainable economic growth,” he said, according to a Cisco press release.
“We want to bring together the energy and innovation of Shoreditch and the incredible potential of the Olympic Park to help make East London one of the world’s great technology centres. Today this ambition is gathering pace.
“Cisco’s goal is a fantastic example of how business is turning this vision into reality, with East London set to become a leading Tech City.”
BIG is a five-year scheme designed to support the Government’s intention to encourage economic growth through entrepreneurship, high-tech innovation, and by piggy-backing on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
It is also a long-term ambition by the Government to create a London-based rival to Silicon Valley, Northern California’s world-famous technical hub, home to such brands as Apple, Facebook and Google.
The project will introduce two new networked Innovation Centres – one in Shoreditch, and another at the Olympic Park – that will provide a ‘state of the art connected community’ and forge links with other technology centres across the UK. This includes working with the Birmingham Science Park Aston and its ‘Science Park Without Walls’ scheme.
John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco, commented:
“The Prime Minister’s Tech City Initiative is an excellent example of how government agencies can spur innovation and growth,” he said. “This project is a logical progression of the work we’ve done in the east of London for the 2012 Olympic Games, and we are delighted to work with the UK Government as it serves as a reminder of how business and government, working together can turn vision into reality.”
The Olympic Park Legacy Company is also set to create “accelerator” space, to provide office space for businesses in East London and beyond.
With Cisco’s support, it seems as though the PM’s ambition to rival the likes of America’s Silicon Valley may not seem so far-fetched. But this is a long-term vision – and needless to say it will take quite a bit more time and investment to bring East London anywhere close to California’s world renowned tech-hub, which is home to thousands of companies and employs over 225,000 high-tech personnel.