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As Europe’s largest technology hub with a thriving start-up ecosystem, London is a leading tech capital on the global innovation landscape. But as new challenges arise, uncertainty persists and emerging technologies advance at an unprecedented pace, what does the future hold for the city’s world-class tech industry?

We explored this question earlier this week as we welcomed London’s tech community to our campus’ innovation centre, Plexal for the forward-looking “Future Frontiers” event hosted in collaboration with the Tech London Advocates.

The event saw innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and tech leaders come together at Here East to engage in discussions on the future of London’s tech ecosystem and explore a landmark new manifesto to supercharge the sector and ensure our capital retains its crown.

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In the lead up to the event, Here East CEO, Gavin Poole and TLA Founder, Russ Shaw CBE, co-authored an opinion piece in the Evening Standard underscoring the timely importance of this manifesto:

"London has proven resilient in its ability to weather global headwinds and economic uncertainties over recent years but, as it stands at the crest of a new wave of technological disruption, a renewed focus is needed on how the capital can stay ahead of the rapidly evolving and increasingly digital landscape."

Laying out the manifesto’s recommendations, Gavin and Russ discussed the importance of future-proofing London's world-leading tech sector, boosting digital skills and literacy, investing in jobs and talent pipelines, and forging greater connections between London’s technology hubs, as well as hubs across the country, and world.

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The event was moderated by the brilliant Oli Barrett MBE, and in the opening proceedings, Russ and Gavin delivered scene-setting keynote addresses on how we can unlock London's tech potential and maintain its leading role at the forefront of emerging technologies.

In particular, Gavin painted a picture of how Here East fits into London’s world leading innovation landscape:

“We must drive greater investment into our city’s thriving start-up ecosystem. We need to champion the incredible businesses, organisations, and academic institutes loudly which are vital driving forces behind this city’s impact as a global innovation leader. This is hugely important to us and whenever we can we’re banging the drum for London, and our remarkable technology ecosystem.”

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Following this, a lively panel discussion took place between Andrew Roughan – CEO of Plexal; Tom Adeyoola – tech entrepreneur, founder, and investor; and Dr. Christina Yan Zhang – CEO of The Metaverse Institute. It looked at how London can stay ahead of the curve on emerging technology and saw the panel of experts take stock of the lessons learned over the past decade as well as what excites them about this next phase.

Next, a fireside chat between investors Adam French – Partner at Antler, and Stephanie Heller – Co-Founder and Managing Director at Bootstrap Europe, looked at how we can scale London’s maturing tech sector. Here the experts discussed how they see the current investment landscape, exploring the biggest challenges entrepreneurs are facing at present, such as access to money, talent and customers.

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Another engaging panel discussion between Sana Khareghani – Former Head of AI, Office for AI; Ashley Ramrachia – Co-Founder and CEO of Academy; and Tim Creswick – Founder and CEO of Vorboss explored how London can get the next wave of digital adoption right. This saw our experts discuss what we can learn from other cities, how to boost resiliency, and how to go about closing the technological literacy gap.

The final fireside chat featuring Amali de Alwis MBE – NED and start-up consultant, and Joel Perlman – Co-Founder and Senior Managing Partner at OakNorth, looked at London’s emerging role as a hotspot for technological excellence, diving into their views on the power of community.

The event’s finale saw eight experts take to the stage to reveal the manifesto’s eight recommendations for future-proofing the city’s tech sector and fueling productivity, prosperity and growth.

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You can read the manifesto in full here, and you can learn more about its importance in the run-up to the Mayoral Elections in these two articles from UKTN and Tech Informed.

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