London’s Tech City gets £50m from Cameron

DAVID CAMERON yesterday unveiled a £50m government project in east London’s “Tech City” alongside a host of new investments from the likes of Microsoft and KPMG.

The Prime Minister said the money would be put towards a new showcase building on Old Street roundabout – the junction that has become an icon of the growing technology scene around Shoreditch.

The new building, called the Open Institute, will be a civic centre to foster entrepreneurs, hosting classrooms and workshops, and is intended to be a hub for the scene.

The structure, set to be completed by 2016, will be able to train thousands of students.

“Two years ago I set out my commitment to help Tech City become one of the world’s great technology centres,” Cameron said. “The UK is in a global race and I am determined that we as a government continue doing everything we can to equip the UK to compete and thrive in that race.”

The Prime Minister’s announcement came alongside commitments from more than a dozen companies setting up initiatives in the area.

Microsoft will open a development centre next year to give advice and support to young developers, while professional services firm KPMG is setting up a Shoreditch office to foster fast-growing companies.

Other businesses to announce new presences in the area yesterday included Cisco, IBM and Barclays. They follow the lead of Google, which launched its startup incubator, Campus, earlier this year, and Amazon, which opened a developer hub in the summer.

Yesterday’s announcements will come as a boost to the government’s Tech City quango, which recently appointed former Facebook executive Joanna Shields as its new head.

The area has started to show signs of success from the likes of Mind Candy and Facebook developer iPlatform.