Funding announced for Tech City

Prime minister David Cameron has announced a �50million funding injection to transform Tech City into a start-up business hothouse.

The area, already home to a cluster of media and technology companies such as Amazon and Google, is located around the Old Street roundabout and has in recent years become a creative hub, attracting young entrepreneurs and big multinationals alike.

Proposals to develop the Old Street roundabout – dubbed Silicon Roundabout due to the area’s similarities with California’s Silicon Valley – have been under discussion for years.

But the funding boost will now allow it to be transformed into Europe’s largest indoor civic space, hosting workshops fostering Britain’s new generation of entrepreneurs with 3D printing labs and facilities for small start -up businesses.

There will also be a partnership between UCL, Cisco, and DC Thomson designed to support the development of digital and media companies.

In addition, Mr Cameron said there will be capacity to train 10,000 students in coding and enterprise, and a scheme to help 1,000 young people per year get into skilled employment, in partnership with Hackney Community College.

The prime minister announced the new funding at the Urban Age Electric City Conference at the London School of Economics last week. He said: “We are in a global race, and I am determined that we equip the UK to compete in that race.”

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Tech City will also see investment from big international companies such as IBM and KPMG, as well as Microsoft, which is committed to establishing a Technology Development Centre to give guidance to people with innovative ideas.

However, Jennette Arnold, London Assembly member for north-east London, pointed out that the technological hub’s infrastructure needs strengthening in order to be able to fully support new businesses.

She said: “I welcome the announcement of a �50million investment in Tech City. However, investment alone will not solve the problems experienced by many Tech City firms.

“There are actions that Mayor Johnson could take today that could help create jobs and investment in Hackney and Islington.

“We need to see the mayor put pressure on broadband providers to cut delays to the installation of high speed broadband and help develop more affordable co-working spaces.

“I would also like the mayor to work with developers so more units are ready for firms to get going straight away.

“Every week that is lost waiting for a connection is a week in which new jobs could have been created.”

Tech City has come under criticism in the past due to its high rent, which is more expensive than New York, making it unaffordable for many of the fledgling start-ups it was created to cultivate.