Have your say on the London Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy before 13 March by clicking here.
Sadiq Khan’s document sets out how he hopes to ensure that all Londoners share in the benefits of London’s prosperity as it grows, alongside a package of new LEAP supported initiatives which will support entrepreneurs and help small businesses across London to grow and flourish. The draft strategy will provide the framework for LEAP’s activity and has been developed in close consultation with the LEAP.
The plans outlined include a brand new £100m fund to help small businesses in the capital flourish. The proposed new SME Fund will make loan and equity investments in small businesses. The scheme aims to support budding companies and entrepreneurs in the capital which are looking to raise money to take them to the to the next level. It also aims to help plug the funding gap which sees some smaller companies find it difficult to line up new investment to help them expand.
The Mayor also announced a new civic innovation challenge for tech start-ups and medium-sized businesses to develop innovative solutions that will help address some of the big issues facing London and Londoners – from inequality to air quality and the health challenges of an ageing population. 15 companies will initially be selected to receive targeted business support from the London Growth Hub with up to three of them receiving £15,000 to further develop their ideas. The exact terms of this initiative, known as the Mayor’s Civic Innovation Challenge, will be outlined next year.
The Mayor of London, who chairs the LEAP Board said: “When I stood to be the Mayor of London, I said I wanted all Londoners to have the same opportunities that this great city gave to me and my family. This ambition is still what drives me every day as Mayor.
“London has many economic strengths. Yet, despite this, there are still fundamental challenges with our economy that should trouble us all. While London is one of the richest cities in the world, far too many Londoners are unable to share in the rewards of that success. It’s shameful that almost three in ten Londoners currently live in poverty and that the talent of many Londoners is still going to waste when, with the right support and encouragement, they could be tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and senior business leaders.
“Inequality is not inevitable. And a fairer city can be a more productive and prosperous city. So I am setting out my plans to create a more inclusive economy that works for all Londoners – an economy that enables everyone to reach their full potential, supports entrepreneurs and small businesses and ensures neither opportunity, nor achievement are limited by gender, race, sexuality, religion, disability or background.
“If we continue to ignore the problems with our economy, we risk further embedding inequality, damaging the cohesiveness of our city and, ultimately, our future success. So we must act now and I am as determined as ever to build an economy that delivers for everyone and leaves none of London’s communities behind.”
Chair of the London Assembly Economy Committee, Caroline Russell AM, said: “London needs a strong and resilient city economy. But the lack of skilled labour remains a critical risk.
“We welcome the fact that the Mayor is taking steps to address the skills deficit in his draft Economic Development Strategy. How he looks to bridge the gap will be crucial to achieving his aim of developing an economy that works for all Londoners.
“The committee will take a particular interest in how the Mayor measures the success of his strategy, especially the aim of creating a fairer and more inclusive London economy.”
The strategy also aims ensure that groups who are under-represented or who struggle against ingrained inequality in work and business, including women and those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, are able to enjoy the success of London’s economic prosperity.
The Mayor wants to work with schools, colleges, universities and industry to break down boundaries that are preventing girls and those from BAME communities from studying science, technology, engineering and maths.
Today he reaffirmed his commitment to set up the first-ever Mayor’s London Scientist programme by funding up to 5,000 pupils who are under-represented in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) sector to enter their projects for a national CREST Award – the top science award scheme for schoolchildren in the country.
The Strategy also proposes working more closely with BAME communities to ensure people have the digital skills they need for today’s economy, and that they can access finance for entrepreneurial activities.
Natalie Campbell, Member of the London Economic Action Partnership, said: “This signals a fresh new approach to approach to economic development in the capital, one that puts inclusivity at the forefront of London’s growth ambitions. We are really excited about the new funds being made available to small businesses and the innovative Civic Innovation Challenge will demonstrate how the London Growth Hub is evolving to offer some very specific and intensive support to innovative businesses in key sectors, whilst helping improve the way things are done in the public sector”.
Sue Terpilowski OBE, London Policy Chair, Federation of Small Business, said: “Micro and Small businesses rely on working capital as the bedrock of their business operations. We support the Mayor of London with his new £100m fund and will be working closely with his team to ensure the majority of funding goes to the smallest businesses that will create the long term jobs and the growth opportunities in London.
“The Economic Development Strategy, launched at the FSB Winter Reception today, will have significant implications on small firms currently weighed down with the cost of doing business. We encourage all businesses to respond to the document and have their voice heard by the Mayor.”
Kathryn Parsons, Co-Founder & CEO of London technology education company DeCoded and a member of the Mayor’s new Business Advisory Board said: “It is great to see the Mayor taking such a proactive approach to economic development in the capital, particularly when it comes to helping those from underprivileged backgrounds. I’ve visited and worked in many other cities growing the business in the last year – Paris, New York, San Francisco, Berlin. I still believe that London has the unique mix of cultures, mindsets and skills that make it the best place to start a business. However, support and funding is desperately needed. Sadiq’s £100 million fund couldn’t come at a better time.”
David Lutton, economic policy director at London First, said: “London is a successful global capital, but there’s much more potential in our city. If we support the next generation of businesses, with the right investment in skills, digital infrastructure and access to financing, we can unlock significant growth that will benefit the whole of the UK.”
Omid Ashtari, General Manager of Citymapper and a member of the Mayor’s new Business Advisory Board said: “With Brexit looming, businesses across London are faced with uncertainty. As we leave the EU, giving businesses confidence is key, which is why the Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy is such an important document. London is home to many exciting tech companies so it’s great that the Mayor’s Civic Innovation Challenge will provide more entrepreneurs with opportunities to take their ideas to the next level.”
Individuals can have their say on the strategy by taking the survey and joining the discussions on Talk London, City Hall’s online community: www.london.gov.uk/talk-economy.