Leading investors and technology entrepreneurs gather to champion London’s tech start-ups

Tech London Advocates hold second meeting to address challenges facing small businesses

Entrepreneurs, investors, and experts from the UK’s tech community convened last Friday to discuss ways to support the capital’s technology start-ups and small businesses.

The second gathering of Tech London Advocates (TLA), held at Canary Wharf’s financial technology accelerator space Level39, saw a range of speakers debate and discuss the issues affecting London’s tech start-ups and ways in which big businesses can help small businesses, described as “the David and Goliath scenario”.

Launched six months ago by former Skype vice president and business angel Russ Shaw, TLA is a private sector-led coalition which seeks to promote London as a world-class hub for tech and digital business and has grown its membership to more than 350 leading entrepreneurs, investors and organisations.

Over 200 members of the advocacy group attended the conference hosted by Cospa, Web Mission and StartUp Britain co-founder Oli Barrett. Chief design officer at Barclays Derek White, Tim Hames, director general of the British Venture Capital Association and Dido Harding, CEO of TalkTalk provided their take on the current climate and what needs to be done to support and attract technology start-ups to London.

Particular emphasis was placed on resolving immigration issues that restrict the “high calibre of overseas talent” coming to the UK, an area which head of Level39 Eric van der Kleij was keen to address stating it made him “hot under the collar”.

Attention was equally focused on diversity within business and a need to get more women involved with technology with the country’s education system presented as a specific area that could be utilised to encourage this.

These areas were then examined more closely by individuals leading the TLA’s six working groups, set up to tackle specific challenges facing London tech business, which include Talent and Immigration, Education, Innovation, Capital and Investment, Women in London Tech, and Fitness and Health.

The gathering also saw the launch of the TLA’s ‘triage’ service, a new concept pioneered by BVCA policy manager and TLA James Clark, which is calling on members of the advocacy group to provide tech start-ups with a free consultation to provide knowledge, expertise and contacts.

Discussing the campaign’s progress so far, Shaw suggested that success wasn’t “going to happen overnight” rather “it could take years” but he was quick to refute scepticism of the scheme: “We don’t want this to be a talkshop with no results, we want to deliver and we will be tracking our results.”

Shaw continued: “London is the world’s only truly global city. This group is helping shape the future of our technology industry and I hope today’s event inspires even more people to get involved.”

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