Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.
Digital businesses based in East London’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’ area are set to benefit from increased funding in a pilot innovation initiative.
The Technology Strategy Board is doubling the funding available for tech companies based in the Old Street and Shoreditch areas, and its Launchpad initiative will see the funding rise to £2 million, and support will be given in the form of £100,000 grants to twice as many companies.
The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led government body that aims to create economic growth by bringing together business, research and public sector bodies to help accelerate the development of innovation.
We’ve covered London’s burgeoning tech scene a fair bit in recent weeks, and this latest announcement will be a huge boost to the estimated 250 digital, creative and high-tech firms that are currently based in the area.
The Launchpad initiative is focusing initially on the area around Old Street and Shoreditch in East London, and it aims to stimulate this hotspot of digital and creative industries by accelerating the companies’ commercial success. Indeed, this area is currently considered Europe’s fastest growing technology hub and this extra funding should help attract even more investment and talent into the area.
If the Tech City Launchpad programme is successful, it will be rolled out nationally to help stimulate the growth and success of UK small businesses.
Announcing the increased funding today, Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:
“The Tech City Launchpad competition has already been a great success and the additional funding will enable us to double the number of small and micro companies and start-ups we are supporting. The competition makes the most of the cluster of high tech companies in London, enabling those selected to go further and faster and transform their ideas into commercially reality.”
Around 200 ideas were submitted in the first round of the competition, when businesses were asked to submit two-minute videos. The entries are essentially a showcase for talent in the digital businesses currently operating in east London. Some of the entries are available to view online.
Over forty of the applicants who were successful in the first round of the competition have been invited to submit written proposals over the next two weeks. Following detailed, expert assessment, twenty of these will be offered up to £100,000 in funding.
Details of the final successful applications will be announced in early August.
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