Silicon Roundabout; London’s Life Raft

Silicon Roundabout finds its home at Old Street, the hub of tech companies renowned for their ferocity at taking world by storm. Nothing is more encouraging than being in Old Street and developing a new product. It’s this exact reason that Silicon Roundabout will be the life raft that keeps London ahead of the curve post-Brexit.

The value of the Digital Economy (the UK having the lion’s share) provides a significant competitive edge in the world tech race. Not only are we helped by the fact London is one of 3 global financial centres of the world, but it’s not afraid to diversify and modernise thus becoming the world leaders in fintech innovation. As London’s tech scene rockets, it’s political stability is crumbling. How this affects fintech will most assuredly be minimal if the right steps are taken.

The first step is for Government to move with the tech revolution by embracing methods of e-governance. Currently, the UK is miles behind others in revolutionising voting. With electronic voting systems (EVS), a lot more can be done with the data collected. Moreover, its significantly quicker at concluding elections, with result being released in a matter hours at most. The most obvious challenge with this is that the process may be attacked by hackers, in an egregious manner, and disrupting democratic mandate. On the other hand, India, the second most populous country on Earth and the largest democracy, utilises EVS to count millions of votes.

Bills, Bills, Bills

In the Queen’s Speech outlining the legislative agenda, Brexit dominated. But what also stood out is the push to modernise society and envelop more tech into basic functionality. For instance, the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill and the Space Industry Bill were particularly exciting. If Elon Musk was watching the Queen’s Speech it’s certain he would have clapped and cheered.

Of most significance to the tech industry, and a Bill that will potentially keep the raft afloat, is the Data Protection Bill, that will create less dissonance between UK and EU Data policy during the negotiations. Thus, potentially creating avenues through the Digital Single Market. It is undoubtable that the next year policymaking by both the UK and the EU will be vital in securing the future success of the country, by default, everything is to play for.

London, a beneficiary of pro-immigration policy, will see a challenge in attracting and hunting down talent. The best solution is the continued private sector investment in Universities. The inclusion of companies at University level education will be vital post-Brexit in retaining and training talent.

This trend is already emerging in engineering; in Autumn Dyson will be opening, in partnership with the University of Warwick, an Institute of Technology offering a 4-year engineering degree taught by both Professors from Warwick and engineers from Dyson. The hope is that the people trained will be tailored perfectly for a role within Dyson, but also have commercially transferable skills.* This is merely one example of many ways the industry is piercing the University bubble and ensuring students become talent.

The Government and businesses now have a responsibility to create contingency plans for every scenario of Brexit outcome. From encouraging more private sector involvement in Universities and education, to creating protectionist policies for industry and innovation. Silicon Roundabout meanwhile, should continue to flourish as the pop-up-start-up-techie haven and prevent puncturing the life raft.

* ‘The course will involve no tuition fees, and participants will be paid a ‘competitive’ salary over the four years. Students will also be eligible for the staff bonus scheme and discounts.’