A number of the best tech start-ups in the UK have been invited to go to the US by London Mayor Boris Johnson to take part in the Great Tech Expedition 2014 as part of his ambition to help early-stage UK tech and EdTech businesses explore opportunities abroad.
The trade mission, which took place last week, took the new firms to Chicago, Boston and New York and was funded by the Mayor’s export team, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the European Regional Development Fund.
The Mayor’s programme follows recent findings from the ‘BIS is Great’ campaign and Ibis Capital which identified technology, and EdTech in particular, as a “major growth area” for the UK economy.
EdTech, or Educational Technology, is described as the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.
Edtech firms are worth an annual £17.5bn, set against a global edtech and e-learning market of $91bn. In the US alone, there is close to $400m investment in edtech start-ups each quarter, which has the potential to leave the UK trailing in investment and education innovation.
However, five of the 17 start-ups taken on the tour were EdTech firms, indicating that EdTech might finally be coming of age in the UK, which is good news, as the sector has enormous potential for the creation of jobs, skills and growth.
Mr Johnson said that London’s innovative approach to the tech sector is the envy of start-ups the world over and that his commitment to them is to provide whatever assistance he can to set them on the path towards international success.
He said he felt certain that the opportunities afforded by the tour of US cities will convert into dollars for the companies and regeneration, jobs and growth back home in London.