For the past three years, internet start-ups have been drawn to a patch of East London dubbed Silicon Roundabout. In November 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron announced the area was to become an officially sanctioned cluster. It was rebranded Tech City UK, called the Digital Capital of Europe and given a new geography that encompasses the Olympic Park, site of the largest regeneration scheme in Europe. To deliver on these ambitions, a special team at UKTI was established with a remit of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI).
There are two main objectives of Tech City: the promotion of London as a hub for the digital economy – a sector the government sees as vital for future growth – and the regeneration of a depressed area.
This paper makes an academic assessment of the regenerative potential of clusters and the role of FDI therein. Research methods were designed to test this knowledge in Tech City.
Central government’s Tech City strategy is focussed on attracting foreign investment, however studies suggest that FDI will only contribute positively when the local business is strong and sizeable (Phelps 2008), which is not the case. Based on the clearly defined research methodology, the findings of this dissertation lead to the recommendation that a lower priority is given to inward investment at this young stage of cluster development, in favour of developing innovative home-grown talent. In addition, for the cluster to thrive after the Olympics is over, this paper advocates a new public-private partnership structure that is less dependent on the central government. Finally, it recommends further academic research about the economic links between cluster centres and secondary locations.
My dissertation. Read it here.