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Digital Technologies Driving Economic Growth in London

An eye on the London economy

The London economy is a collection of businesses based in London, England. These businesses may be based in one area of ​​London or spread across several boroughs. These companies vary in size from small to large, but all have some presence in London. They range from multinationals like Google and Facebook to local shops and restaurants. Industries represented by these companies include technology, finance, media and entertainment (M&E), creative services such as advertising agencies and design firms, and retail, including supermarkets and large stores. Many other types of companies can be found within this category, for example hotels or property management companies, but we will focus on those involved in M&E as they represent what many consider to be the heart of the UK economy: driven innovation by scale-driven creativity through digital technologies.

Digital Technologies Driving Economic Growth

The British government defines the "London economy" differently than I do; includes only those companies that are based in London. This definition excludes most non-UK based financial services companies (although it is debated whether banks count towards this measure). It also excludes other service providers, such as online-only retailers or call centers that provide customer support to non-UK customers through an offshore branch rather than a physical UK office.[3] While I think focusing on M&E alone is too narrow a view to understanding how digital technologies drive economic growth,[4] it helps us understand how different parts of Britain fit into the bigger picture as we move through this lens. For example, while much has been written about Silicon Roundabout, home to tech startups like Uber[5], few people realize that Uber itself was founded by two engineers who live near Battersea Power Station and were inspired by the iconic architecture.[6] Similarly, while many people know that Amazon has its global headquarters in Seattle, few realize that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos chose his company name after reading Arthur C Clarke's novel 2001: Odyssey in the space where "the computer" referred to HAL 9000, the sentient computer aboard NASA's Discovery One space station tasked with guiding astronauts on their mission, then changed his mind when he realized it couldn't protect" Amazon". As you would expect, given our focus on digital technologies driving economic growth,[9] we find other examples in our sample around areas where new innovations are happening: Cambridge Science Park[10], Tech City[11] , Oxford Street ,[ 12], Shoreditch[13], Canary Wharf[14] . And finally there is Silicon Fen - a term coined by James Dyson to indicate an area north-west of Cambridge where high-tech manufacturing takes place - where we find companies such as ARM Holdings Ltd., Freescale Semiconductor Ltd., Renishaw PLC, Siemens plc. , Groupe Thales PLC . , Cadbury plc . , Imperial College Healthcare Limited . , AstraZeneca plc. , Rolls-Royce Group PLC. , Barclays Bank PLC. etc. Similar concentrations can be observed around clusters such as Bristol Technology Park [15]; Manchester Digital District [16]; Leeds Digital Business Center [17]; Newcastle Digital Region [18]; Glasgow Science City Scotland; Wokingham Innovation Centre; Read Innovation District; Norwich Research Park; knowledge district of Liverpool; Sheffield Biocity; Birmingham New Media Zone etc… All these places have common characteristics: proximity between universities/research institutes/academic institutions/companies working on cutting edge research projects/innovation development projects together with large companies providing mass critical enabling further innovation and commercialization activities. In short, all of these locations combine academic excellence and industry expertise in one ecosystem! .

Silicon Fen Cluster

The Silicon Fen cluster is a perfect example of such an ecosystem. It was formed by the University of Cambridge and has grown rapidly over the past decade, with over 100 companies based there today [19]. The cluster's success can be attributed to its location: it is close to Cambridge, home to many research institutes and some of Europe's largest technology companies (such as ARM Holdings Ltd., Freescale Semiconductor Ltd., Renishaw PLC, Siemens Plc., Thales Group PLC., Cadbury plc. , Imperial College Limited Healthcare. , AstraZeneca plc. , Rolls-Royce Group PLC. etc…). This proximity allows for easy access for companies seeking R&D/innovation and commercialization expertise. In addition, Cambridge's strong academic presence contributes greatly to this ecosystem through industry-academia collaboration. For example, at least half of all PhD students work within or are associated with one or more Silicon Fen companies [20]. The high concentration of researchers coupled with their long-standing partnerships with companies enables these universities to provide key support services that enable startups to thrive and grow into large enterprises. Currently, there are around 50 incubators across the region offering free office space and other support services, including mentoring programs [21]. These incubators include Accelerate Cambridge (founded by MIT), TechHub UK (founded by Tech City UK) and Xchange Labs (founded by Google). Accelerate Cambridge is a hub for early-stage tech startups that have received funding
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