Croydon transformed by Tech City

Mattew Hancock. Pic: Mattew Hancock

Matthew Hancock. Pic: Open Data Institute

Croydon has been transformed from a ‘’boring, uncool, decaying town” into “London’s fastest-growing tech ecosystem”, according to Jonny Rose, founder of the borough’s Tech City initiative.

Rose said the movement’s biggest accomplishment has been to revolutionise completely the borough’s tech scene, all without Government funding and “entirely powered by the Croydon community”.

Since its start in 2012, the community-led tech movement has welcomed over a thousand digital and creative start-ups to Croydon, which has been nicknamed the Silicon Valley of South London.

Croydon Tech City’s 2016 launch was formally launched last Thursday evening, January 21, at Croydon Conference Centre, Surrey Street, with a keynote speech from Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock. He emphasised the importance of South London’s booming tech scene and praised the organisation for “helping young people learn the right skills to start and grow a business, and to connect to a network”.

Hancock’s backing of CTC is seen as an important acknowledgement that the organisation has a “winning strategy” for the community in terms of engagement, education and growth. He said the borough’s tech initiative was a “blueprint for the future”.

Rose said he expects Hancock’s endorsement to increase the organisation’s influence in government as they develop future tech and business policy.

In the upcoming year, CTC aims to encourage their team of over 1,500 tech minds to hold workshops to help mature the startup community. Rose said he hopes CTC will increase the number of free community and school events from 40 a year to 200.

He also hopes that wider community outreach will draw more attention to his efforts in South London and allow him to compete with East London’s Tech City, a dominant, government-funded project.

As larger tech companies and workspaces look to move to the area, CTC’s management team are experiencing new challenges. Not only do they focus on running free community events, promoting the area, and running business support services, but they are now also involved in property discussions and an inward investment strategy.

Classes at Croydon Tech City. Pic: Jon Lim

Classes at Croydon Tech City. Pic: Jon Lim

Alex Wilson

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