“Already we are one of the best places in the world to start and grow a tech business. British Tech is growing over one and a half times faster than the rest of the economy, adding more than one hundred and thirty billion pounds to our economy every year," said Theresa May in her opening speech.
Speaking at London Tech Week, Theresa May also made several commitments in a bid to ensure that the UK remains the largest tech hub anywhere in Europe.
- £153 million government funding, with an additional £205 million pledged by industry, to unlock the potential of quantum technologies, including accelerated drug development from quantum computing.
- 2,500 places available for the first time for AI and data conversion courses starting next year, to equip tech-driven businesses and people across the country with the skills they need. This includes 1,000 government-funded scholarships to open up opportunities for people from all backgrounds.
- Launching a study into tech competitiveness to identify opportunities and support for digital businesses to ensure the UK remains the most attractive place to build a tech business. This will be led by industry: Cindy Rose from Microsoft UK, Suzanne Ashman from LocalGlobe, Stephen Coleman from CodeBase, and Avid Larizadeh Duggan from Kobalt.
The event, taking place across London from the 10th to 14th of June, promotes the UK capital as a global technological hub and the best place in Europe to easily and freely access some of the world's best technological talent and take advantage of some of the world's most valuable tech opportunities.
London Eye observation wheel along the river Thames. Image courtesy of Pixabay.
Why is London Such a Valuable Place for Tech Firms?
Aside from London being London, it is British technology firms that are drumming up excitement with outside investors and foreign companies.
Recent research and data from Tech Nation, an entrepreneur scale-up network, showed that British tech firms secured a significant amount of investment in 2018. Investments in this sector totalled around £6.3 billion in 2018, with a huge chunk of that—£5 billion—going to scale-up firms.
These figures alone suggest that the UK has now become the fourth-biggest international market for tech investments behind the U.S., China, and India respectively.
What's Taking Place This Year?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is a huge focus on AI this year.
An exciting line-up of speakers from some of the world's most prominent tech companies—Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Facebook, among others—will also weigh in on the AI front and showcase their recent IoT, blockchain, and AI tech innovations.
“Given the pace of change in technologies like artificial intelligence, there has never been a more important time for London Tech Week. The UK has a long history of world-leading technological innovation and is ideally placed to capitalise on the AI opportunity for economic growth,” said Microsoft UK CEO, Cindy Rose.
Also, for the first time ever, 2,500 places were allocated to AI and data conversion courses starting in 2020. These include 1,000 government-funded scholarships that open up opportunities in this exciting area of tech for people from all backgrounds, but with a particular focus on female and BAME individuals after a 2018 report showed that only 14.6 per cent of leading figures in UK tech were women, and 70.5 per cent were not from BAME backgrounds.