Our journey to delivering a world-leading technology cluster on the Olympic Park has taken us to many places, a fair number of which we didn’t expect it to.
South by Southwest probably falls into that latter category.
If you had asked me two years ago, where we would have chosen to fully launch Here East, I’m not sure I would have said Austin, Texas but I realise now though that there is no more perfect a place.
On Sunday we curated a number of interactive workshops and panel debates, which showcased our plans for London’s 2012 Legacy and announced that Here East will bring the world’s renowned Maker Faire to London and the Olympic Park.
The Maker Faire at Here East will be the first to take place outside of the US and we say what better place to do it. At Here East we are trying to create something unique, a dedicated space for London and the world’s most innovative, creative and disruptive companies.
Here East will be London’s home for making and Maker Faire have been at the forefront of driving this movement since 2006.
I originally got involved two years ago with iCITY, which is developing the Here East cluster, primarily because I was interested in people.
I wanted to ensure the legacy from London 2012 contributed to the regeneration of East London, and created jobs and opportunities for local people and communities that had been ignored for far too long.
We have made some great progress, including commitments from tenants to work to source local talent, and it is also fitting that last week we celebrated National Apprenticeships Week, as we will create hundreds of apprenticeships, both during the construction phase and once the site is fully operational.
Outgrowing Old Street
We all know that the digital and creative scene in East London has been developing at an incredible rate. The area around Old Street and Silicon Roundabout is just unrecognisable from ten, even five years ago but this huge growth spurt has not gone without its challenges.
There has been an increasing amount of pressure on space, rent and connectivity and these limitations could severely restrict future growth of the sector.
We understand the amazing talent we have in the TMT sector in London, and we want to be able to build on that and create an exciting hub where small companies, looking to scale, will co-exist and collaborate with large companies seeking to become more creative.
Regeneration and diversity
The regeneration of East London relies on continued investment and attracting the world’s most successful companies to make it their home.
Opportunities for local people depend on those small entrepreneurial businesses having the support network and infrastructure to scale and create employment, and UK economic growth is largely going to be powered and driven by the digital and creative industries.
That’s why we are extremely proud of what we’re creating at Here East and excited about bringing together tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors to show what they have made, and to share what they have learned.
Everyone at Here East has been on a rather remarkable journey during the last two years and we are just at the beginning. So stay tuned, follow our progress on Twitter – @HereEast – and we hope to see you soon at London’s Maker Faire in 2015.
Gavin Poole is CEO of Here East