The government has endorsed growing South London tech hub, Croydon Tech City, as a blueprint for future innovation and job creation in the UK capital.
Meeting with digital entrepreneurs at the Croydon Tech City 2016 Conference, minister for the Cabinet Office, Matt Hancock, praised the community-led tech initiative, which has experienced rapid growth since being set up four years ago.
In a speech, Hancock said: The Croydon tech scene is really going full throttle. Croydon Tech City is reaching out into the community and helping young people learn the right skills to start and grow a business, and to connect to a network.
As London’s fastest growing cluster of technology startups, Croydon Tech City has become the home of over a thousand digital, technical and creative startups.
The so-called ‘silicon Valley of South London? grew by 38 per cent between 2011 and 2013, outstripping other UK tech hubs such as the Silicon Roundabout area of East London and the cluster of tech firms in the Bristol region known as Silicon Gorge.
Based primarily in the renewed Number One Croydon building, which houses four floors of disruptive small businesses, Croydon Tech City is home to growing tech startups like DotMailer and Natterbox.
During his visit, Hancock hailed some of the hub’s initiatives for having a real impact on the lives and prospects of young people in the local area. He cited Future Tech City, which offers mentoring, apprenticeships and work experience giving young people skills in technology innovation, and Apps for Good, which encourages students to create apps that improve lives, as two of Croydon’s Tech City’s greatest achievements.
Hancock went on to say: This is clearly the start of something, and I want the government to do all we can to get behind initiatives likes this. I want to find out what we can do to help our new tech stars.
A recent report from The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec) a non-profit that campaigns for policies that support digital startups found that the UK had the fastest growing digital economy amongst the G20 group of countries, underpinned by a vibrant startup ecosystem.
It found that 1.4m people were employed across the country’s 21 tech clusters, with digital startups having raised almost 1.5bn in investment during the first half of 2015.
Last year, a new index measuring what startups and scale-ups feel is important to them ranked London as the best city in Europe for digital entrepreneurs.