Prime Minister Theresa May today launches the sixth annual London Tech Week festival, spearheaded by Informa Tech, bringing together many of the biggest names from global technology and business.
In her opening speech the Prime Minister said: “Already we are one of the best places in the world to start and grow a tech business. British Tech is growing over one and a half times faster than the rest of the economy, adding more than one hundred and thirty billion pounds to our economy every year.
“But if we are going to maintain our position as a global leader, our challenge is how we develop British Tech and make it even better. We want this to be the place everyone thinks of – and comes to – first when they want to develop their world changing tech ideas. This is a challenge shared between industry and Government.
“Today as we sit on the cusp of the next great industrial revolution, we have the opportunity to work together and ensure that the advances we see transform our world for the better, and for the benefit of everyone. Government will back you all the way.”
The Prime Minister will also make a number of ambitious commitments that she hopes will ensure the UK remains the largest tech hub in Europe.
Some of the UK’s biggest tech companies applauded the new initiatives.
Cindy Rose CEO, Microsoft UK, said: “Given the pace of change in technologies like Artificial Intelligence, there has never been a more important time for London Tech Week. The UK has a long history of world leading technological innovation and is ideally placed to capitalise on the AI opportunity for economic growth. We have all the elements we need to succeed, a thriving start-up scene, a vibrant investment community, cloud-first government policy and a great pool of UK and global talent.”
Bill Kelleher, Chief Executive, IBM UK and Ireland, added: “London is a major hub for innovation and creativity. New technologies such as AI, Blockchain, Cloud and Quantum are creating powerful opportunities for the tech ecosystem to transform businesses and empower people to 'do good'.
Carolyn Dawson, Managing Director of Informa Tech, (the organisers of London Tech Week) said: “The UK continues to innovate as a cutting-edge tech hub and as one of the world’s most open and welcoming markets setting the agenda across different parts of the sector. We have the ecosystem, the talent and ambition to continue leading the conversation in tech and this year’s festival will show visitors all of this and more.”
Recent data from Tech Nation, the scale-up network for entrepreneurs, shows British technology companies secured significant investment last year. Investment in the sector totalled £6.3bn during 2018, with £5bn of that sum going into scale-up businesses.
The figures suggest the UK is now the fourth-most important international market for investment in the technology sector, behind only the US, China and India.
Overall, British technology companies attracted five percent of all global high-tech scale-up investment during 2018, more than any other European country.
The UK is also playing a key part in the growth of AI which is rapidly expanding globally.
According to a recent Tractica report AI is likely to bring major transformation to a number of sectors including telecommunications, automotive, and healthcare.
Tractica forecasts the annual AI software revenue is set to grow from $9.5bn in 2018 to $118.6bn by 2025. Revenue from AI services will increase from $6.7bn (2016) to $188.3bn by 2025.
London continues to be a hub for AI innovation, with more than three times as many AI startups in the capital as any other city in Europe. In 2018, London was home to 745 AI companies, and it was the UK’s fastest growing sector. The same year saw AI companies attract £736m investment, achieving a 47% year on year increase.
Organised by Informa Tech, a founding partner of London Tech Week, the event will take place across the capital from 10th to 14th June and will feature an impressive line-up of speakers and events showcasing the latest transformational innovations within Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, and IoT.
Visitors to Europe’s largest festival of technology and innovation will be able to see major tech brands such as Microsoft, IBM, Google and Facebook, and other key entrepreneurs, policy makers, start-ups and international talent.
London Tech Week will showcase the capital’s leading position as a global technology hub and will host international business delegations from across the globe during the festival.
Tech Week 2019 is this year also taking on the challenge of diversifying the industry, with a full commitment to Inclusive Innovation across its event schedule.
According to a 2018 report, only 14.6% senior UK tech leaders are women and 70.5% senior executive teams have no BAME members at all. This year’s Tech Week seeks to address this imbalance, with a suite of initiatives to make it easier for people of all backgrounds to access careers in tech.
This year’s festival is being supported by the Mayor of London’s office and HM Government, under its Industrial Strategy. The Government is supporting the event through a number of initiatives and numerous speaking and public engagements.
London Tech Week enables us to showcase the UK’s leadership and demonstrate our nation’s commitment to cultivating the right set of diverse skills and workforces to accelerate our ability to build technologies that help transform the way we work and live.”
The LTW flagship event, TechXLR8, will be held at ExCel London. TechXLR8 will focus on the transformational impact of technology on business and industry, enabling attendees to experience first-hand the technologies fuelling the business revolution. There will be live tech demos and immersive showcases of cutting-edge tech innovation.
Within TechXLR8 will be an exciting programme of events exploring diversity and inclusivity, the future of work and AI & machine learning. Speakers include the CEOs of British Airways, Barclays and Facebook, as well as CTOs of WH Smith, DirectLine Group and ASOS.
Events for 2019 include:
London Tech Week saw 55,000 attendees last year. It is anticipated that this year’s TechXLR8 will welcome more than 15,000 attendees, 8,000 companies, and 600 tech guru speakers. There is set to be more than 300 exhibitors, with at least 90 countries represented (with nearly 70% attendees at director level and above).