Tech City doesn’t have a hope in hell of challenging Silicon Valley

Tech City will have absolutely no impact what so ever. It’s embarrassing to think that our answer to Silicon Valley is a cluster of small technology companies in the east of London which have so far done little more than stress testing for the Olympics.

Yes, its been referred to as Silicon-roundabout but is that really enough to compete? Let’s not forget that the companies on the roundabout are there because the rent was affordable and no other reason. According to Cameron our ambition is to “help make east London one of the world’s great technology centres.” Let’s recap for a moment, a world competing technology centre?

Really? Think of what we’re up against: Silicon Valley houses the headquarters of the world’s top technology companies and accounts for 1/3 of all of the venture capital investment in the United States. Booming economies in India and China are way ahead of the game churning out engineers, mathematicians and scientists by the bucket load.

These economies and Silicon Valley have been around for decades nurturing entrepreneurs, shaking up the tech market and basically changing the way the world works. They have had the foresight to see how the world is changing and what is needed to compete.

How is Tech City competing with that? Are we offering anything new or different? As far as I can see it will be a long time before we can create a credible alternative to Silicon Valley.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great start. The government are taking a strong position on the importance of developing an entrepreneurial climate in the UK and getting more involved in tech is obviously the way forward. Even Russia is jumping on the bandwagon with its tech innovation centre ‘Innograd’.

But is it too little too late? Cameron and his government have a lot riding on Tech City which was launched last year with great furore yet its goals still remain unclear. No one is quite sure what the government wants out of it, except of course one thing; something in the UK that can directly compete with Silicon Valley.

Naturally the tech giants are backing it. Google and Facebook are creating ‘innovation hubs’ which are bound to attract talent and Cisco has announced a significant investment. But where will the real results come from, the innovation hub in Shoreditch or the global HQ in California?

And how will this really affect business in the UK? My guess is it won’t. At least not for long time. Unless something drastically catastrophic happens to Silicon Valley, whatever gets built in Shoreditch really won’t have a hope in hell of challenging the world’s greatest tech hub. Let’s face it, we’ve fallen well behind the times and a government funded technology centre is not going to change anything.

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Dominic Monkhouse is the UK MD of managed hosting provider PEER 1. He has spent 14 years working in sales, marketing and business management within the IT sector. Prior to PEER 1, he held senior positions with Rackspace and IT support company IT Lab. Dominic is regularly interviewed by and quoted in business and technology publications including the Financial Times, Data Centre Dynamics, and Computer Business Review. Dominic has a BSc in Agricultural and Food Marketing from Newcastle and a MBA from Sheffield Business School.