In-depth: New London Silicon Valley welcomed by East End venues
10-Nov-10by Annie Byrne
Several exhibition and conference venues have welcomed the Prime Minister’s plans to transform London’s East End into the country’s own Silicon Valley, saying the investment cements the area’s viability for business and events. Prime Minister David Cameron revealed plans to create a new East London Tech City stretching from Old Street in Shoreditch through to Olympic Park during a speech last week. Among the proposal is news that leading tech firms such as Google and Facebook are already investing in the area. The government is also planning to publish a “blueprint for technology” including £200m of equity finance for businesses with high growth potential and a further £200m for new Technology and Innovation Centres.“Right now, Silicon Valley is the leading place in the world for hi-tech growth and innovation. But there's no reason why it has to be so predominant,” the PM said. “Our ambition is to bring together the creativity and energy of Shoreditch and the incredible possibilities of the Olympic Park to help make East London one of the world’s great technology centres.”Excel London CEO, Kevin Murphy, said the initiative further indicated London’s shift east. It also complements existing plans for the £30m Siemens Sustainability Centre and green enterprise district, which recently got the go-ahead from the London Borough of Newham, he said.“While these firms bring prosperity to the area and new jobs, they also further strengthen London’s position as a leader in industry and play a role in helping attract large-scale events to the capital, which in turn inject valuable economic benefit,” Murphy added. He pointed out Excel stages several technology-oriented events including this year’s Nokia World and Cisco Live in 2011 and 2012. “The more expertise we can show as a city through the creation of these kinds of technology centres, the more likely we are to attract further events from big business, which will in turn fuel the economy,” Murphy said. A spokesperson for conference and events venue, Troxy, was also delighted additional investment had been earmarked for London’s east and claimed the purpose-built facility was reaping the benefits of being in the Olympic borough of Tower Hamlets. “Troxy has already seen an upturn in corporate events following the announcement of the Olympics. David Cameron’s plans for a new ‘Silicon Valley’ fully endorses the intended legacy of the Olympic Games, bringing hi-tech blue chip companies to East London, generating new business needs in both conferences and events,” the spokesperson said.Old Truman Brewery hosted the press conference last week and is seeing uptake from the news, its spokesperson, Oren Zeloof, said. “We welcome the continued increase of clustering for tech companies that we already enjoy and fully support the government’s drive for this exciting sector both here at the Old Truman Brewery and the locality,” Zeloof added. The Brewery’s list of events clients includes several of the 100 newer technology companies now established in east London. Longer-term, established players like Cisco, Intel and Vodafone have also committed to building business in the new Silicon Valley.