Start-ups could create UK’s own Silicon Valley

 
Stephan Shakespeare
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A glance at the online sector of BrandIndex quickly reveals the truth behind the belief that tech start-up success is dominated by the West Coast of the US.

The top seven brands contain the Mountain View based Google and Firefox (Mozilla), San Bruno’s Youtube, San Jose’s Ebay, and Facebook which share YouGov’s US HQ’s home town of Palo Alto. Amazon (Seattle) break Silicon Valley’s dominance and the one British player in the top seven is BBC.co.uk.

The impact that online now has on our life can be seen when we realise that Google (+61), Amazon (+58) and BBC.co.uk (+54) are the three highest index scorers across all the 850 brands measured.

BBC.co.uk is a shining example of how we can make it work here but they have done it by successfully adapting an established brand to a new era rather than creating a revolutionary new idea.

With the right investment in entrepreneurs we should be aiming to get Silicon roundabout (Old Street) and its equivalents around the country to rival Silicon Valley.

With this in mind YouGov and UCL, working with StartUp Britain and in collaboration with Imperial College London, will lead the development of a pilot Start-up Summer to stimulate, encourage and support student entrepreneurs.

Start-up Summer is an entrepreneurs’ development programme that will offer students the opportunity to develop their own innovative, business ideas into actionable, start-up business plans.

During an eight week period, five project teams of five students each will have ongoing access to a range of resources, a project budget of £2,000 and regular contact with entrepreneur mentors such as Martha Lane Fox and Luke Johnson.

It will give participants the opportunity to develop their skills and networks within business in a stimulating and supportive environment.

Stephan Shakespeare is chief executive of YouGov.