How can London become the tech capital of the world?
That's the question being put to business leaders including former trade minister Mervyn Davies, National Express chairman Sir John Armitt and London Chamber of Commerce chairman Mark Adams today.
The group, which has been set up by mayoral hopeful Tessa Jowell, also includes WPP's chief client officer Tamara Ingram and IAG director Denise Kingsmill.
In today's inaugural meeting, the business advisory forum will be tasked with solving the many digital challenges standing in London's way, including plugging the digital talent gap by teaching schoolchildren how to code; getting broadband speeds in the capital up to 1Gbps in homes, businesses and public buildings and 10Gbps for “tech clusters”; and identify the barriers obstructing tech startups in London.
Jowell said: “If London is to continue to grow, create new jobs and maintain its capacity to support mixed communities, then ambitious action must follow.
“We must aim to become the best city in the world to do business – and that requires comprehensive super-fast broadband, a young workforce with the digital skills to succeed and digital hubs across our city - so young entrepreneurs are nurtured, and grow their businesses, in London.
“There should be nothing stopping London from becoming the tech capital of the world. That’s my aim, and that’s what my business advisory forum will help me work towards.”
Lord Davies added: “London faces a series of barriers in its way as it seeks to become the tech capital of the world. We need a world-class broadband infrastructure, more support for tech start-ups and a laser-like focus on closing the digital skills gap.”