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Happy birthday, Tech City: Have another confusing map

PM hobnobs with startup upstarts at party

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The UK Prime Minister went down to the Silicon Roundabout on Thursday to mark the first anniversary of his Tech City initiative and unveil an interactive map of it all.

Tech City developers from Trampoline Systems and designers from Playgen put together the map, which includes "analytics to highlight the flourishing community in East London, pulling in streams of social network data for all the technology business in the district to analyse their networks and influence".

Unfortunately, in practice this seems to mean that the map is a dense information overload, much of which appears quite pointless, but then it does hope to be "an important data infrastructure to help the cluster to grow", which means it's probably of interest to anyone above this hack's pay grade.

At any rate, it's much better than the last mapping of the area in September, when Tech City UK put out a map that took some liberties with where things actually are in Shoreditch.

The new interactive map shows the approximately 600 tech and web businesses in the area, up from around 200 in November last year, when David Cameron launched his initiative to extend Silicon Roundabout into a Tech City.

Given the vagaries of entrepreneurship and uncertainties of dot.coms, it remains to be seen how many of these will be in it for the long haul, but the PM was optimistic.

"As a government, we are determined to continue doing everything we can to help support and accelerate this growth," Cameron said.

He pointed out that the government had already started initiatives to boost growth, including the enterprise investment scheme and the entrepreneur visa.

The enterprise investment scheme is a programme to help smaller companies raise finance by offering tax relief to any investors who buy new shares in the company. And the entrepreneur visa is designed to attract fresh well-financed talent into the country by offering a visa to anyone who has £200,000 or more and wants to start up a new business with it.

The PM said the government "was also looking at new ways to protect intellectual property".

"But we are not done yet – we’re looking forward to continuing our work with the community in Tech City to further support them to grow," he added.

As if Cameron's visit wasn't enough, the area in the East End of London was also awash with other announcements from big companies to mark its birthday.

To name but a few:

Qualcomm announced the first Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) trial for London.The pre-commercial trial will start in early 2012, involving up to 50 wirelessly charged electric vehicles (EV).

Cisco announced its National Virtual Incubator (NVI) as part of its British Innovation Gateway (BIG) initiative. BIG amounts to a five-year £500m investment of cash, technology and human resources, which aims to develop Britain’s innovation eco-system and create an environment in which start-up digital businesses and their ideas can flourish. The NVI is a sustainable public technology network which promises to stimulate entrepreneurship by connecting physical sites through IT infrastructure,

Intel is creating a High Performance Computing cluster that can be used by companies located in Tech City. This cluster will enable companies of all sizes to access some of the world’s most advanced technology, giving them a competitive advantage in bringing products and services to market.

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