Investment into construction and business startups has always been a common approach to making sure a good picture of a country is presented to others, and anyone who has visited Tech City can testify to it having the feel of a slightly shabby but vibrant university campus. Thus one of the bits of good news about money being spent recently by the government has been £50m to revamp the attempt to create a silicon valley in the UK, though with it being focussed around one roundabout in London the scope appears a lot smaller.
"We are based in London (not TechCity – but leafy Surbiton) and have launched a global initiative to recognize and reward enterprise technology startups, the Tech Trailblazers Awards. As a Briton passionate about technology and entrepreneurialism, I welcome any investment in this area from the UK government. I know Joanna (Shields) and many of the TechCity team and I am sure they’ll do a fantastic job! But it is a big ask for an area less than a square mile to lift a country’s brand. The Tech Trailblazers awards have attracted entrants from around the world but our British Tech Trailblazers finalists are not from Silicon Roundabout – the three British finalists are from Rotherham, Basingstoke and Brighton. (Iceotope, SaaSID and Building Sustainability). I am sure they’d have some great insights on this too!
If Britain has a first class infrastructure both digitally and transport wise we will see TechCities and TechVillages springing up all around the UK. After all the UK boasts something like 300 incubators, 100s of science parks, first class universities and centres of excellence, all of which might be nurturing the next Facebook or Google. Let’s not think location, location, location. The location can be anywhere and should be everywhere! "Rose Ross, Founder of the Tech Trailblazers
Trailblazers is an awards program designed to highlight the best enterprise startups from around the world, and voting in the current awards has seven days remaining.
Having a very sexy boutique style startup scene will help promote the UK to foreign investors, but for those people who are trying to start their own business across the UK (no matter whether in the tech sector or not) many will see this as yet more money going to people who can already afford to live and work in London.
For those startups in London, who find themselves priced out of Tech City as rents rise, there is of course plenty of other places across London and the UK with what is probably better Internet connectivity, from villages in Oxfordshire, to a remote building in rural Lancashire to an apartment in London all offering Gigabit broadband. Of course not all startups need hyper fast Internet connectivity, but in a tech world where you interact with people from across the world daily it is as vital as having electricity in the building in 2012.