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UK looks to tech for economic growth

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 02:47

Nov. 16 - As the Bank of England slashes its growth and inflation forecasts, the annual Silicon Valley Comes To The UK event stresses the economic benefits of supporting the technology sector. Matt Cowan reports.

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SOUNDBITE: Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn Co-founder saying (English) "In a globally competitive world, some of the really key competitive advantages are speed, agility and experimentation..." In Britain, the corridors of power are once again ringing with talk of tech's promise. Silicon Valley Comes To the UK is an annual event that welcomes the forces behind some of technology's best known companies to deliver the lessons of the Valley to politicians, business leaders and students around Britain. LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman says the numbers make a powerful argument for the transformative potential of the tech sector. SOUNDBITE: Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn Co-founder saying (English) "If you look at just four firms in the last decade - Apple, Amazon, Google & Facebook - you have nearly a trillion dollars of equity value that's been created. It reflects tens of thousands of jobs. It reflects high revenue. It reflects transformation of industries that make higher productivity." Just over a year ago, the UK government launched an initiative called Tech City to spur investment and help foster a tech hub in London's East End. That's where Alexandra Chong's new social network, called Luluvise, is based. SOUNDBITE: Alexandra Chong, Founder and CEO of Luluvise saying (English): "My initial thought was let's get over to Silicon Valley because that's the epicentre of technology. It's where most of the big social networks in our space operate out of. But after frequent visits there and setting up here, it became increasingly obvious that there's a great talent base here. And all of the initiatives that are starting right now, and have been starting for the last year have really helped bring attention to our space and certainly made recruiting a lot easier for us. We didn't have to fight against the hundreds of other startups that are out in Silicon Valley. We were able to recruit most of my team within a couple of months of raising funding." The new dean of the University of Oxford's business school Peter Tufano says he believe scaleups SOUNDBITE: Peter Tufano, University of Oxford's Said Business School Dean saying (English) "So startups are shiny new things. They're very exciting...startups are important to understand because in some sense they tell you about what it takes to form a company, but ultimately if you want to have a lasting impact on an economy - what we call changing the game. Ultimately it's going to be companies that scale up, that have high impact and we need to focus on those as well." The discussion about how to best spur the tech sector, like so many of its creations, still a work in progress. Matt Cowan, Reuters.

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UK looks to tech for economic growth

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 02:47