By Daniel Hunter

East London receives a boost today (Friday) as five ICT firms announce plans to expand their operations in Tech City, Europe’s fastest-growing digital hub.

The new investment will help drive growth by boosting jobs and company start ups in the area, while helping cement the UK’s reputation as a leading player in ICT.

Milton Keynes, Sheffield and Ulster will also benefit from multi-million pound international business deals announced at the Global Business Summit on ICT, one of 18 summits organised by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Today’s summit will showcase the best of UK ICT innovation and technology to delegates from around the world, promoting new opportunities for international business. Keynote speakers include Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, BBC Director General Mark Thompson, and BT Chief Executive Ian Livingston.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, said:

“The Government is determined to make Britain the technology centre of Europe, with the London’s Tech City at its heart.

“London 2012 is the perfect stage to show investors and entrepreneurs how much we have already achieved, and the exciting potential of what is to come. We are also proud to demonstrate the world-class innovation of the British tech industry, which is helping to deliver the most digitally-advanced Games in history.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

“It’s fantastic that more and more companies are taking advantage of the enormous benefits of doing business in London, and I am delighted to welcome these new additions to Tech City. London is at the forefront of the high tech revolution, and the 2012 Games have given us a unique opportunity to showcase the unrivalled opportunities for businesses in the capital.

“The official promotional organisation for London, London & Partners, continue to do a sterling job of promoting the city to our international visitors and I look forward to welcoming many more businesses in the future.”

Ian Livingston, BT Chief Executive, said:

“We are delighted to be participating in the British Business Embassy summits at Lancaster House. This is a unique opportunity for us to showcase our expertise to international visitors and potential new customers in one place.”

Other speakers will include Derek McManus, the Chief Operating Officer of Telefonica O2 UK; Stephen Leonard, the Chief Executive of IBM UK & Ireland; and Guy Laurence, Chief Executive of Vodafone UK. Seminars will focus on key fields including broadband; digital innovation; multimedia; and next-generation mobility.

UK-International Business

International business announced today includes:

Morning Boost — Italian Blend Accelerator has announced its first overseas business incubator, located in London’s Tech City. Estimated to create 50 jobs, the office will open in August 2012 and will be a hub for launching start-ups into UK and other markets. Morning Boost identifies innovative ideas from anywhere in the world and supports their growth within European markets through strong networks of industrial, financial and mentoring partners across Europe. Morning Boost is backed by a £5 million fund raised by a group of Italian entrepreneurs with experience in web, new media and finance.

Vodafone has committed to opening a new technology lab and incubation centre in Tech City. This will bring the expertise and global market reach of Britain’s biggest ICT company to UK technology start-ups, building on the experience Vodafone has gathered from its xone in Silicon Valley. Encouraged by the early success of the xone, Vodafone will look to replicate the experience in Tech City in East London, where there is a powerful combination of venture capital investment and start-ups focused on the mobile internet and creative media.

Barclays has provided funding and other support to enable Central Working to launch its third club to help the rapid growth of small and medium-sized businesses. Located in London’s Tech City, this club is expected to help over 22,000 businesses during the next five years, supporting estimated growth of more than £350 million within five years. Central Working clubs nurture talent within fast growth companies by providing deep support and inspiration, as well as the environment to foster collaboration and peer development.

GREE Inc, a Tokyo-based mobile social gaming company that is one of the fastest-growing companies in Japan, is announcing the opening of a new game development studio in the UK and its planned relocation in September to a new office in Tech City. The London studio will be the latest studio set up to develop for GREE’s mobile social games, and comes as part of an aggressive expansion in Europe. Its opening means that GREE UK now has a full UK operation consisting of development, developer relations, marketing and customer support. The new studio will create employment opportunities in engineering, art, and game production.

USTWO, a Tech City-based digital product and service design studio, has expanded its business to the US market, where its strong growth has in turn driven further expansion in London. Since opening an office in New York in June 2012, USTWO has generated new business worth over £300,000 with global brands and now has plans to expand to the west coast of the US by 2014 and to recruit a further 20 staff in the UK.

Tribal Group, a provider of technology products and services to the education, training and learning markets, headquartered in Paddington, London, has won significant ICT contracts in Australia and New Zealand. The deals with overall contract values totalling more than £27 million for Australia and more than £5 million in New Zealand, span business systems for universities, further education colleges, schools and government education departments. To support the new projects, software development is taking place primarily in the UK, and this has generated 40 new full-time positions at Tribal’s Sheffield office which is currently undergoing a £300,000 refurbishment programme, as well as a number of additional roles across other locations in the business.

Sophia Search Ltd, a spin-out from the University of Ulster that creates software products that dramatically improve organisational search and content management systems, has received US$3.7 million in Series A funding. The funding will enable the company to grow over the next 18 months, expanding its Belfast headquarters from three to 17 software engineers, and its San Jose sales office in California, from one to 12 staff. Sophia Search won (jointly) the UK leg of Logica's Global Innovation Partner Programme in June 2011 and was invited onto IBM's Global Entrepreneur Directory in July 2011.

MPP Global Solutions, a leading British provider of advanced Payment Services and eCommerce Solutions tailored for the media and entertainment industries, estimates that it will generate up to 50 UK jobs over the next five years, predominantly in IT-related positions, after opening an office in New York City in July. MPP estimates that the New York office is likely to generate in excess of £1 million in the first year, with ambitious targets of over £10 million in the next five years.

AirWatch, a company based in Atlanta, Georgia, has just moved into new offices in Milton Keynes to accommodate its expanding business. AirWatch, a mobile device management software company, manages its operations in Europe and Middle East from the UK. The number of employees in the UK has grown from four to 74 in the last year. It expects the numbers to double to 150 within two years. AirWatch is investing $40 million in its overall business, with the UK office as a primary component of that investment.

CISCO has today joined the companies included in the UK Government’s strategic relationship management programme intended to maximise Government’s effectiveness in securing large investments in the UK, and to boost exports.

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