Londoners should be inspired by our diverse and global tech sector

Russ Shaw
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Lord Mayor's Hot Air Balloon Regatta
London Technology Week brings together people from across the globe (Source: Getty)

It is the eve of the most important political decision of a generation, a decision that has forced each and every one of us to examine what it means to be part of a community that is British, European and international.

On such an historical day, London Technology Week has reminded us of the global outlook of the industry.

It is often said that digital entrepreneurs have to think globally from the moment their business is registered.

Such is the competition for customer acquisition that companies have to start expanding instantly, a process encouraged by the explosion of e-commerce and online communication.

There is also a unique international diversity in the industry. In the developer teams of London’s most successful tech startups and scaleups, tens of languages are spoken.

These are the same companies that have long fought to simplify and streamline the UK’s immigration regulation, so that the best talent from around the world can come to the city.

The result is that London’s technology sector reflects the multicultural diversity that is one of the capital’s greatest assets.

Today I spent the morning with the Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister of Singapore, talking about the role of the private sector tech leadership in London and how this environment, so well-suited to digital innovation, can be replicated elsewhere.

I then spent the afternoon at Hackney House with Tech Nordic Advocates and tech leaders from Scandinavia and the Baltics for London Technology Week.

With over 500 Advocates, Tech London Advocates’ sister organisation aims to encourage closer links between London and the Nordic region, recreating the collaboration and disruption that are becoming so commonplace here.

These events are not exceptions. We have gatherings of representatives and Advocates from Australia, the Middle East, India, China, the US and Latin America taking place in London this week.

In 2016, it feels that London is consolidating its position as a global capital of tech excellence. Which makes the referendum all the more poignant, pointed and pressured for London’s tech companies.

As the campaigning draws to a close, I would urge every Londoner to be inspired by the truly international community that has come together in the capital this week.

Not looking to build walls between London and international cities, but to build bridges and find similarities between tech successes worldwide.

My hope is that tomorrow’s decision sends an unequivocal message of welcome to the rest of the world.

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