The #LondonIsOpen campaign, which seeks to answer questions regarding London’s future position as an enviable hub of business and innovation following the country’s vote to leave the EU, was in full swing within hours of its initial launch on 18th July. Notable individuals such as new Prime Minister Theresa May and Sir Richard Branson, and companies such as Google and Merlin Entertainments, have all thrown their weight behind the campaign.
#LondonIsOpen has been duly welcomed by the tech community which will be as vital to its success as the campaign is dependent on it.
Despite the cloud of uncertainty following Brexit, recent success stories have shown there’s no question regarding the calibre of the capital’s tech community. The UK has led the way when it comes to start-up unicorns and, with the recent acquisition of London based Virtual Walkthrough, it’s clear that London is ahead of the game when it comes to tech start-ups.
With such a substantial tech community based in the capital, a key element of the #LondonIsOpen message is that the capital remains a city that embraces new people and new skills. For STEM industries in particular, where Britain is still suffering from a skills deficit, ensuring that technology companies can still access the necessary skills to grow will be critical.
Although London firms are standing strong, government backing is urgently required to show that the capital is still rife with opportunity for those seeking new adventures. Policy makers must work with businesses to make sure that this open for business message is communicated loud and clear.
There are many examples of the sort of support government can provide. Just one of these is the recent pledge by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to treat digital infrastructure with the same priority as other key utilities. Such a commitment has been eagerly anticipated: as Mark Boleat wrote in City A.M. broadband is the lifeblood of businesses and such support for the tech community is vital to London's success. The City of London's new digital infrastructure toolkit gives broadband providers, SMEs, landlords and developers the documentation they need to deliver digital infrastructure in a fast and effective way.
WiredScore itself has been the beneficiary of such strong government backing for tech infrastructure in the capital. Following its success in New York, London with its thriving tech scene was a clear next step for WiredScore. With an endorsement from the Mayor of London, we were fortunate enough to engage with both forward-thinking politicians and CRE professionals, including British Land, Derwent London, Land Securities, and Stanhope, who understood the need to support London’s businesses in their efforts to digitise and innovate.
Connectivity plays a vital role for businesses across the UK and will only continue to grow in importance. Benchmarking that connectivity will play a vital role in enabling landlords to provide their occupiers with a clear understanding of their buildings’ infrastructure and, in doing so, will enable occupiers to make informed decisions about CRE.
The #LondonIsOpen campaign has sent an important message, but such ambitions must continue to lead policy makers as they seek to innovate and support business in the capital. London has long been more than just the capital of the UK. It’s a global capital for innovation, enterprise and opportunity. At WiredScore, we stand with the London Mayor in saying that London remains open to business, investment, and opportunity.
If you haven’t already checked out the official #LondonIsOpen launch video, click below.