Game-changing innovation hubs and £1.6m incubator unveiled at London Tech Week 2017 launch

To coincide with the start of Europe's biggest tech festival, Sadiq Khan has unveiled key developments to make London the world's leading smart city...

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London Technology Week 2017, the capital’s mega tech festival, has kicked off today and was recognised with an official launch event at Here East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, attended by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and top tech entrepreneurs and press.

Asserting that ‘Smart London is open’ with a goal to further cement London’s reputation as Europe’s leading tech hub, the event saw the unveiling of a number of major announcements set to help UK tech start-ups grow and help improve and tackle key global and economic challenges.

Outlined below, these are the four key tech announcements that tech entrepreneurs and start-ups need to be aware of:

1. Better Futures – A new £1.6m clean technology incubator

Unveiled by Sadiq Khan, Better Futures will work with 100 London-based start-ups and small businesses to deliver low-carbon and clean technology products to tackle the causes and effects of climate change.

The overall goal of Better Futures, according to Khan, will be to “kick start the development of a clean-tech cluster for London, developing a hub for low-carbon industries in the capital”.

2. Plexal – Launch of Europe’s largest “technology innovation destination”

Unveiled by Claire Cockerton, former CEO of Innovate Finance, Plexal is a new innovation centre at Here East which will bring start-ups and corporates together to design and create connected products to improve lives.

Spanning 68,000 square feet, Plexal is essentially looking to become a mini city and will house 800 tech start-ups and global corporations from across the world, starting from July 1. Cockerton has suggested that “Plexal will become a truly unique innovation destination not only for London but the rest of the world”.

3. Global Disability Innovation Programme – Led by Lord Chris Holmes MBE

Former British paralympic gold medallists, Lord Chris Holmes MBE and Baroness Tanni Gery-Thompson have today launched a new accelerator to support the development of technologies to improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

Running in partnership with Plexal and University College London, The Global Disability Innovation Programme will bring together disabled and able-bodied experts to come up with new innovations to help disabled people in areas such as transportation and affordable housing.

Lord Chris Holmes MBE will act as chair of the programme.

4. Smart Mobility Innovation Office – Ran by Ford Motor Company

The final major announcement of the London Tech Week launch event came from Steven Armstrong, group vice president and EMEA president of Ford Motor Company.

Armstrong revealed that Ford is opening a dedicated Smart Mobility Innovation Office, which will work similarly to an incubator, to bring together Ford specialists with world-class digital companies, academic institutions and existing partners to create smart mobility solutions that “meet the needs of Europe’s major cities”.

Commenting on the launch of London Tech Week 2017, Sadiq Khan said:

“As mayor of this great city – the best city in the world – it fills me with pride to see our tech sector thriving. New technologies are having an enormous impact on our way of life – reshaping our societies, our economies and our culture.

“My ambition now is to harness the new technologies that are being pioneered right here to transform London into the world’s leading smart city.”

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