Universities and Science Minister David Willetts announced the new funding.

 An extra £1million of investment is being offered to digital businesses in East London as part of a government backed initiative to encourage greater collaboration between businesses in the area. The funding is being made available by the Technology Strategy Board, a government run agency which aims to increase economic growth by supporting technology development in UK businesses. The move has doubled the funding which was already being made available through the agency’s Tech City Launchpad initiative, which offered grants of £100,000 to innovative and creative businesses in the region.

When the initiative launched in April this year it received 200 applicants. This funding will enable 20 of those applicants to develop their ideas further.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:“The Tech City Launchpad competition has already been a great success and the additional funding will enable us to double the number of small and micro companies and start-ups we are supporting. The competition makes the most of the cluster of high tech companies in London, enabling those selected to go further and faster and transform their ideas into commercial reality.”

The initiative is focused around East London’s digital hub in Old Street and Shoreditch, which is currently home to over 250 digitally focused companies, it is hoped that this initiative will encourage further investment in the area and drive greater collaboration between businesses there. If the plan is successful the Tech City Launchpad programme will be extended to other parts of the UK.

To apply for the funding companies were asked to submit a two minute video pitching their business idea. From the 200 initial applications 40 businesses have been invited to submit written proposals for the next round. Successful applicants will be awarded grants by the Technology Strategy Board and given assistance to find other investors to match the funding.

The initial video submissions can be viewed here: https://ktn.innovateuk.org/web/tech-city-launchpad-1/our-group

Iain Gray, Chief Executive at the Technology Strategy Board, said: “By showing our faith and commitment to the successful companies through substantial financial support, we hope to make it easier for the businesses to secure the co-funding they need to help bring their ideas to life. This unique competition is designed specifically to support growing companies in the digital economy and the creative sector, which are less capital-intensive than those in manufacturing.”

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