Croydon Tech City: one tech hub alone does not make an ecosystem

By - Monday 15th February, 2016

Jonny Rose shares the long-term vision for #Croydon #TechCity’s rise to power

Photo by Mike Beecham, used with permission.

Croydon Tech City is growing

It’s boom time at the moment in Croydon Tech City.

Croydon Tech City is growing – not just in government recognition or media coverage – but also in all of the things that actually matter to fulfilling our aim to create ‘the Silicon Valley of South London’, such as:

  • The number of people that are getting involved in the CTC movement

  • The number of events that are put on each month by the CTC community

  • The number of startups that are moving to – or setting up in – Croydon

Whilst Croydon has long been recognised as London’s “fastest growing tech ecosystem”, it’s only recently that this has begun to have a tangible effect on property in the area.

This year will see a variety of cool workspaces, incubators, and accelerators (or “hubs”) opening up to house and nurture Croydon Tech City’s homegrown and incoming tech startups. Each of these private ventures bring a unique value to Croydon’s tech ecosystem and will help support the CTC organisation’s work in helping attract new talent to the borough.

The workspaces are coming

In Central Croydon alone, there will be soon be at least five hubs where entrepreneurs can take up residence. These include:

Matthews Yard Backyard offers a variety of co-working and fixed desk options for cafe culture entrepreneurs who like their recurring revenue with side order of latte.

MyOutspace on Surrey Street is aimed particularly at female entrepreneurs and women who want to bring their children to work.

3Space, which started its life in Southern House, offered an inexpensive environment for fledgling charities and startups.

Sussex Innovation Centre Croydon, a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Sussex opened in June of last year, is a base for up to 30 high-growth potential companies and can support more than 100 local businesses through its network.

Croydon’s newest tech hub (to be announced) is opening to the public in Davies House in early April. It is comprised of 21,000 square feet of collaboration space spread over two floors, with 320 desks, ten offices, a presentation and networking space large enough for 200 people, as well as an uber-hip café.

All of these hubs – each providing a wealth of business support and community for their respective residents – are also exciting for this reason:

One tech hub is not a tech ecosystem

As more and more workspaces and hubs open in the area, the CTC organisation will have a responsibility in continuing to shape Croydon into a proper, sustainable, mature startup ecosystem with a particular oversight to make sure that ordinary locals are not excluded from this new workspace landscape, as they have been in other tech ecosystems such as East London’s tech city.

A tech ecosystem is built on culture, inward investment, support services and talent creation, on a scale that goes well beyond what can be supplied by four walls and a decent wi-fi connection. This will mean growing and inspiring the wider community so as to create enough talent to fill these hubs; this will mean marketing and promoting Croydon nationally and internationally as the premier destination for tech startups; this will mean collaborating with local government for the right infrastructure; this will mean building a talent pipeline of the next generation, and so on.

For Croydon to truly become ‘the Silicon Valley of South London’ it needs hubs, but it will also require more. Namely, it needs all of the other aspects of a tech ecosystem which the Croydon Tech City organisation will always champion, inspire and promote.

This month’s Croydon Tech City event is a ‘meet the workspaces’ special at which you can hear more from each hub’s founders. To register to attend the event on Thursday 18th February at 7pm at Project B, please go here.

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose is a committed Christian who has lived in the Croydon area for nearly twenty years. He is an active participant in his local community, serving at Grace Vineyard Church and organising Purley Breakfast Club, and was ranked "Croydon's 37th most powerful person" by the Croydon Advertiser (much to his amusement). He owns a lead generation company. He is the Head of Content at marketing technology company Idio, the founder of the Croydon Tech City movement, a LinkedIn coach, and creator of Croydon's first fashion label, Croydon Vs The World. Working on Instagram training and a Linkedin lead generation service. Views are his own, but it would be best for all concerned if you shared them. Please send your fanmail to: jonnyrose1 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  • Mark Johnson

    Keep up the good work. Just read an excellent artice in the local rag in East London (Where i work) and it looks as if the techies in Shoreditch are running scared.

    • Jonny Rose

      Thank you very much for the kind words, Mark! Very exciting times for Croydon at the moment. I hope you can come to a CTC event at some point so you can experience it firsthand for yourself :)