In 2014, more than 500,000 new companies were created in the United Kingdom. London is at the epicentre of it all. According to a report from Tech City UK, roughly one-sixth of the 1.46 million people employed in digital companies across the country are based in the capital. But what makes London so attractive?
London already has a hard-to-rival profile when it comes to the startup environment generally. It is a city of 8.5 million people, the third-largest city in Europe, with a booming entrepreneurial culture and support network. The last few years have seen a rapid increase in the number of startups and skilled professionals in the city. This backdrop, with the sheer diversity of skills available, makes for ideal conditions for any startup.
London has a wealth of accelerators, incubators and coworking space together with angel syndicates, tax-driven seed funds, early stage Venture Capitalists (VCs). A huge network of support and service providers focused on startups, ranging from lawyers to accountants, help connect and create businesses to make London a prime location for a startup.
Tech City support
The UK’s Tech City programme has promoted advancement of technology and development in London; hereby encouraging startups to gravitate toward the city.
Finance is present
London is the best place in Europe to find investor funds for your tech business. The sheer number of London’s potential investable prospects makes things very attractive for investors.
A continent at its doorstep
In comparison with the US that only has its domestic market readily available, the entire European market of 742.5 million is easily accessible through London. Gary Stewart, director of Telefonica’s startup accelerators has commented ‘Within Europe, London is the most important ecosystem. Not to mention its relative political stability and access to English-speaking countries.
The amazing ethnic diversity that London offers is a key differentiator to almost any other global tech hub. It is a city where 40% of the population classify themselves as an ethnicity other than white; where 12% of the population states their religion to be Muslim; and 30% of the population holds a passport other than British. This diversity is qualitatively reflected in London’s tech ecosystem, where we have high-profile entrepreneurs from Ismail Ahmed, the Somali-born found of WorldRemit- now valued at £315 million to the Honduran and Indian-born partners running Seedcamp, Carlos Espinal and Reshma Sohoni.
Another crucial factor is talent. It has a huge impact on where these businesses situate themselves. If there is no workforce available for the business, there is practically no point in locating there. London, with its abundance of skilled workers, excels in this aspect.
As the new mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has proposed to use his mayoral powers to protect ‘incubator’ and startup spaces from the threat of redevelopment and ensuring that London has new industrial workspace to set up its own businesses. London’s startup scene is also set to grow significantly with the London’s digital technology technology sector forecasted to boost the British economy by £12 billion and create 46,000 jobs over the next decade.