Ed Vaizey: The ‘Silicon Valley Of Europe’ Already Exists

Minister for the digital economy Ed Vaizey says UK tech has the infrastructure and skills but not enough money – but that’s not the government’s fault, he claims

Minister for the digital economy Ed Vaizey claims the European equivalent of Silicon Valley has already been created, it just needs more capital investment to get up and running successfully.

Vaizey’s comments came at Salesforce’s World Tour in London today, where the cloud software vendor announced intentions to expand its UK headquarters and invest in more startups in the region.

“When we talk about creating Silicon Valley in the UK or indeed Europe, I think we’ve created it,” he said, adding the caveat that this technological utopia in terms of groundwork and talent – not finance.

Investment drive

salesforce“We’ve created the infrastructure and the skills. But where I think it’s hard for the Government to create is that organic issue of the access to capital and expertise.”

To that end, Vaizey is looking to organisations like Salesforce to pump money and capital investment into the country.

“I think most people you talk to will tell you the access to capital situation is far different to what is what 5 years ago but it does still lag behind the US,” he continued.
“I think it’s important to, when we talk about large American companies, to put some context into the debate. And you’ll see from Salesforce itself the contribution both in terms of direct jobs and also indirect jobs, and the jobs that they’re creating through helping their businesses are significant.

“The value that a company like Salesforce will add to our economy, just as the UK dominates the app economy in Europe, and just as small businesses are now able to sell on platforms like Amazon and Etsy, are all really important contributions to our economy.

“We do recognise the need to grow UK and European companies. We’re lucky in the UK to have about half the share of the unicorns. The digital single market will make a difference, if we can have a genuine single market with 500 million citizens, that’s a huge platform on which to grow a digital business.”

The recently elected Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has promised to promote London’s tech industry by being “the most pro-business mayor ever.”

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