Mayors launches Technology Week

London Technology Week has been officially launched by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, as he helped school children assemble a computer from scratch to mark the occasion.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson and former Mayor of New York City, Michael  Bloomberg at the launch of the first London Technology Week
Mayor of London Boris Johnson and former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg at the launch of the first London Technology Week

The Mayor was joined by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to kick off the event, which will run until June 20, with more than 200 events confirmed to take place across the city.

" London is at the forefront of digital innovation, with tech giants thriving here as well as dynamic new start-ups. This vibrant sector now supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in our city with potential to massively grow. I welcome the creation of London Technology Week as the latest initiative to harness the buzz around this exciting industry", said Mr Johnson of the event that will be attended by over 30,000 entrepreneurs.

He was also asked about the possibility of driverless cars - like those currently being developed by Google, coming to London in the future and quipped: "We already have them, they're just parked."

The build a computer challenge that opened the show was from Kano, a company that makes flat-pack style computers that can be quickly assembled, and are designed to get more children interested in the deeper aspects of computer design. Although Mr Johnson's team lost the challenge, senior figures taking part in London Technology Week believe that it will be the younger generation who will benefit most from increased attention being paid to the sector.

Kathryn Parsons, co-founder and CEO of Decoded, a company that offers courses on coding and other digital techniques in a single day, said: "London Technology Week is going to be a brilliant way to concentrate all that activity and encourage people - which the tech community is really good at. Hosting events, opening their doors, doing panel discussions, right the way through to big formal things.

"My mission in life is to show the 95% of the world who feel that they're not part of the technology scene that this is a fantastic place to be and the future of the economy really. We work with so many different businesses and no matter what level, they all want digital literacy and skills from the people in their business so I'm a really passionate advocate for anyone getting involved, and this week is a great way to do that."

Ms Parsons also spoke of her delight at computer coding being made part of the school curriculum from this September, and how that will benefit the country in the long term.

"The UK should be incredibly proud of itself. This is not something that many other countries have managed to do. It's a fantastic curriculum. We're not going to just leave it to chance for people to discover that they've got an aptitude and skill for this thing, we're going to expose them to it at a young age. You might have a gift for it, but at the very least you should leave with a very good, basic level of digital literacy, which is utterly lacking from the entirety of British business at the moment."

According to research by Oxford Economics, published alongside the London Technology Week launch, the UK's tech economy could grow by more than £12 billion over the next decade, with more than 40,000 new jobs created as a result.