When the “London tech scene” is mentioned, what part of London do you think of? Shoreditch? Camden? East London? It’s likely that the Borough of Richmond does not spring to mind.
Although leafy Richmond is not deemed a leading tech borough at first, it is actually home to over 1,400 tech companies, 4,000 tech jobs, and industry giants Ebay and Pay Pal, among others. So, what’s in store for Richmond’s tech scene over the coming years, and what can companies in Richmond do to grow and flourish in a bustling industry? CommsCo attended Digital Richmond’s event at York House to find out.
The first speaker at Digital Richmond was Councillor Gareth Elliott, the Cabinet Member for Digital and Technology. Gareth explained the various tech initiatives that the borough is putting in place, including trialling Starship Technology’s delivery robots, free broadband, and dockless bikes. Gareth acknowledged the challenges that tech companies face in Richmond, with limited spaces to work and collaborate, but his enthusiasm to overcome this was encouraging.
Another Digital Richmond speaker included Mark Haller, the Director of local e-commerce company LogicSpot. As a local business that has scaled-up considerably in recent years, Mark shared his journey, including the successes and struggles, with the audience. Mark’s advice to local companies who are aiming to scale-up their business included:
Use your network: If you are starting out a business and don’t have the skills or knowledge to do something, ask for help from your network and you will likely find someone who does. It’s OK not to know everything.
Sales isn’t dirty: Many individuals have a predetermined idea that sales is a bad thing, especially after being a recipient of cold calling. However, sales is an essential part of a business. If you can go to a potential customer with a solution to their problem, they are much more likely to be receptive, and consequently engage with your company.
Dream big: By having a vision for the company, and imaging tangible results, organisations are much more likely to achieve their goals. For example, Mark wanted to grow his company to +25 employees with a white internal brick wall, and that’s what they have now achieved.
With many start-ups and entrepreneurs attending the event, LogicSpot’s story was likely encouraging to those companies that are just beginning their journey. With future plans for a Google-campus-esque office space, and collaboration blooming between local businesses, stakeholders, and members of the education system, Richmond is likely to continue to thrive as the go-to tech hub of London.
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