Technology

Google Campus opened by Chancellor George Osborne

  • 29 March 2012
  • From the section Technology
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Google Campus offices
The Google Campus will house newly established technology start-ups

The UK will become the "technology centre of Europe", Chancellor George Osborne has vowed.

He was speaking at the opening of Google Campus, a new centre offering desk space and mentoring for technology companies.

Mr Osborne said Campus was part of a wider effort to "create the next generation of British technologies".

However, some UK start-ups outside of the capital have accused the government of being too London-centric.

Google's Eze Vidra described the opening as a "transformational moment for the UK start-up community".

Campus is situated in the Old Street area of east London, an area dubbed the Silicon Roundabout.

The new building incorporates existing co-working space TechHub, which has now moved out of its original premises.

On the building's sixth floor is SeedCamp, an early stage investment programme which puts cash into about 20 fledgling technology companies a year.

Partnership

Mr Osborne said the work between Google and the government'sTech Cityinitiative was the first of several partnerships needed to give the sector sufficient support.

"This partnership model is absolutely in line with our approach to Tech City," he said.

"The government doesn't believe you can click your fingers and create a technology cluster. Wherever possible, our approach is to go with the grain of what's already happening."

He said that since the Tech City initiative was launched in 2010, the number of technology firms in the area had risen from 200 to 700.

Further plans to bring research and development companies to the area would mean the UK remained at the "very cutting edge of innovation", the chancellor said.

"We want the UK to become the hub for technology in Europe as a whole.

"This is the path we need to take to create new jobs, new growth, and new prosperity in every corner of this country."

The North

However, while the Silicon Roundabout area is recognised as the UK's biggest start-up hub, it is by no means the only cluster of firms in the country.

Some technology companies, particularly those in the North, feel that the government should take steps to avoid projects like Tech City acting in isolation.

"We're an incredibly weightless industry, so a single location seems counterintuitive," said John Hart, communications manager for Sunderland Software City, an industry body supporting tech start-ups.

"In the North East we're really strong on business support technology, and renewable industry, so there's real opportunity for the government to connect those opportunities more than they are doing at the moment."

However, Martin Bryant, managing editor of The Next Web, said emerging hubs must prove themselves before big firms would begin to move in.

"I'm not at all disgruntled or annoyed that Google would set up in London," he told the BBC.

"It makes perfect sense. It's where all the investment is.

"I think what the North has to do is earn its chops in terms of credibility. The North needs to do something for itself before Google comes along."

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