The CTC Summit showed that Croydon Tech City is making it on its own

By - Friday 13th June, 2014

Croydon Labour’s cabinet member for Economic Development, was the keynote speaker at last week’s Croydon Tech City summit. Here, she praises the group and offers the assistance of the new administration

Toni Letts, Croydon Council’s new cabinet member for Economic Development, addresses the CTC Summit.
Photo by Fluid4Sight. Used with permission.

What a fantastic event the CTC Summit was. It was held last Friday at Croydon College, with inspiring and motivating speeches from guest speakers delivering insights in the latest technologies chaired beautifully by Andrew Collinge (Assistant Director, Intelligence and Analysis at the GLA). There were also challenging but helpful questions from the floor.

What is amazing about this event is that, as a rule, technology groups rely heavily on government or corporate subsidy and intervention. But CTC has done it alone, driving forward the digital dream and helping to create over 1,200 start ups in the past 18 months, confirming that CTC is the borough’s digital centre. All present at the summit would agree that the creative industry is a driving ingredient for regeneration.

In an era of austerity and some uncertainty, where new small business often fail to obtain funding to start up their business, efficiency is mandatory. Creative problem-solving must use partnerships to establish new ventures. Croydon Council, as an enabling authority, needs to understand the key challenges for Croydon Silicon Valley. We need to ask questions: is the business accommodation of the right size, type and quality to grow and develop digital and creative business? And what else do we need to do to encourage technology business to locate and grow in the borough?

The new council is aware that the digital economy forms an increasingly significant part of the economy overall

We know that the information and community technology infrastructure in and around the centre of Croydon is not currently sufficient for the needs of new and existing businesses. For example, in terms of fibre optic cabling, upload and download speeds, and wi-fi availability, it’s not up to scratch. Together with the wider needs of knowledge economy sectors, we need to work with developers to ensure that this work is done – so that Croydon will continue to grow technical and digital businesses via start – and create more entrepreneurs.

The new council is aware that the digital economy forms an increasingly significant part of the economy overall, and to that end we shall be challenging the next government to deliver a Digital Growth Bill. Currently, the Labour Party nationally are running a series of policy reviews including one on digital government.

Finally, I’d like to congratulate Jonny Rose and Nigel Dias, and all those who planned this very successful summit. What is certain is that CTC will drive this vital agenda forward and we in local government need to listen and enable progress. We can do this by bringing together startup founders, investors, and service providers, so that the big discussions and conversations will bring forward Croydon – the London Silicon Valley – and turn Croydon into a European city.

The next Croydon Tech City event: Women In Tech

Croydon Tech City’s ‘Women in Tech’ event takes place on Thursday 19th June at 7:30pm at Croydon Conference Centre, Croydon. It will be an evening of presentations and debate focusing on female founders from South London’s tech startup community.

To attend, please sign up as ‘attending’ here or  to confirm your attendance.

Toni Letts

Toni Letts

Toni Letts has been a serving Croydon Labour Councillor since 1986. A retired CEO of a Housing Association, Toni was awarded an OBE for services to housing and the community in 1994. During her 28 years as a Councillor she has served Croydon as Mayor, Chair of Croydon Health Authority, Chair of Croydon NHS PCT and Chair of London NHS Specialised Commission and both chair and committee member of numerous charities. Currently cabinet member for Economic Development.

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