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London Tech Week 2018: The key events, debates and opportunities

As LTW kicks off, Russ Shaw of Tech London Advocates returns to Startups with daily blogs from the festival, starting with an overview of the week ahead

Catch up on all of Russ Shaw's London Tech Week 2018 blogs:

London Tech Week is finally upon us. The capital’s tech community will be out in full force this week to showcase the UK as a leading global tech hub.

The festival is an opportunity to tell the story of the UK’s fastest growing sector and shine a light on the ambitious entrepreneurs and innovators that have helped to spur the sector on to new, record-breaking heights.

The most prominent tech festival in Europe brings together leading figures from across the community, and provides a platform for start-ups and scale-ups to benefit from the network effects at the heart of the ecosystem's prosperity.

Last year, London Tech Week attracted over 55,000 attendees from over 90 countries worldwide, and was a true representation of the tech community at its finest.

This year – from the Leaders in Tech Summit to Cocoon Networks China-UK Hi and the launch of TLA RetailTech 50 – the stand out events throughout are not to be missed. AI, Machine Learning, VR, AR, Fintech and the industries on the rise will be hot topics for discussion.

I will be making keynote addresses and moderating panels throughout the week, at events including the UK India Tech Summit and the Global Economic Summit with TLA LatAm, to name only a few – it will be a busy week for the TLA network.

The coming week of events will help to highlight the opportunities to further build on recent success. However, this year the festival must address some of the unanswered questions and I hope that we can engage with the challenges and hurdles that the sector is facing.

I will be talking talent and how we must be focusing on hitting one million jobs in UK tech by 2023 – a must if Britain is to remain a leading tech powerhouse. It is vital that we take active steps in addressing the growing digital skills gap in both the long-run and in the immediate future.

We must work to ensure that the education system – schools, colleges and universities – reflects the requirements of the rapidly changing workplace and that we are equipping the next generation with the skills of tomorrow.

In the short-term, it is vital we nurture the highly skilled talent from within Britain but also make sure that businesses have access to the skilled overseas workers that they urgently require.

It is vital that we have an immigration system that supports the growing digital economy and allows the tech sector to benefit from the knowledge transfer that foreign workers provide.

The UK must continue to build international bridges and further relationships with other global tech hubs. London Tech Week in China, last month, was a great example of where these bonds lie as, for the first time in its five-year history, the festival travelled overseas with events in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

There is undoubtedly great scope for growth in the UK’s relationship with China – collaboration, and not competition, can sponsor yet further prosperity for the two tech ecosystems.

China has the size and availability of capital to help the UK’s ambitious community of start-ups and scale-ups to achieve the billion-dollar valuations that will further elevate the UK’s digital economy.

This week is a time to applaud UK tech and the outstanding contribution the sector has made to the wider economy – it is important that we seize opportunities to convene, discuss and debate – and, with the eyes of the world on Britain, shine a light on recent tech success despite the continued political uncertainty that surrounds Brexit.

Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates as champions of UK tech, and are proud to be hosting and supporting events throughout London Tech Week – I cannot wait to see what the week has in store.

Tech London Advocates founder Russ Shaw will be blogging for daily throughout London Tech Week 2018. Tune in tomorrow for more insights…