Tech London Advocates founder Russ Shaw believes the public sector can provide much more support to technology start-ups
Following the launch of a new initiative to promote London as a world leader in technological innovation by the city’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, TechWeek Europe spoke to Russ Shaw, Founder of Tech London Advocates, on how best to encourage growth in London’s technology sector.
Shaw is one of nine technology leaders assembled by the Mayor to be part of the London Tech Ambassadors Group, as his group helps support technology start-ups in finding new investment, new talent and achieving high growth.
“I think London is the world’s only truly global city,” says Shaw, a Londoner for over 20 years but originally from the US. “It’s very vibrant – we’ve got great early-stage start-ups, angel investors and lots of entrepreneurs wanting to add up here – so the focus and desire is how do we keep going from that, and how can we demonstrate that we can get more business done here.”
Set up just under a year ago, Tech London Advocates (TLA) looks to showcase ‘Made in London’ successful tech stories, encouraging both new and later-stage start-ups to speak with one voice about London as a tech community, providing a realistic portrayal of the advantages London offers to tech entrepreneurs and the challenges they face.
Since its establishment, the group has signed up around 600 advocates from the private sector, utilising expertise from all areas of the business world. Shaw, who formerly worked at Telefonica and Skype, is now looking to move on and expand even further, having recently met with both the Home Office and the Ministry for Immigration to discuss how immigration rules are getting in the way of business.
Shaw states that whilst the current level of support and promotion from the government for UK start-ups is great, the private sector can offer ‘billions and billions’ in potential investment, with TLA set up to release just that.
In order to better facilitate successful partnerships and growth, TLA has also recently launched a triage service, inspired by medical procedures, which helps match up start-ups to the right kind of advocates to benefit their needs. Businesses can come and speak to TLA, who will provide a contact that can answer any specific questions they may have about expanding their business, whether it be funding, marketing, or advertising.
For now, though, Shaw is looking forward to working with the Mayor’s office to fly the flag for British innovation, and helping businesses make useful connections along the way.
“The Mayor has done a great job of promoting our tech sector and hopefully now we can increase public sector interest there,” he says. “I truly believe that the private sector is the first step along for many of these growing companies.
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