The Grow for It campaign brought East Kent to the heart of
Canary Wharf for an event to highlight the opportunities on offer
for tech and digital entrepreneurs in the area.
East met East, as entrepreneurs from Shoreditch, Folkestone,
Canterbury and beyond debated the merits of their respective
communities, and the future of digital clusters in London and East
Speakers included Charles Armstrong, founder of pioneering Tech
City co-working hub The
Trampery; Dale Murray CBE, angel investor and non-executive
director at the Department for Business; Jude Ower, founder of
‘gaming for good’ business Playmob; Luke Quilter, managing director
of Folkestone-based SEO agency Sleeping Giant Media;
and Liam Gooding, who founded Fruitworks, Kent’s first co-working
space, and now runs data start-ups trak.io out of Canterbury.
Paul Carter CBE, Leader of Kent County Council, kicked off the
event by telling the audience of London and Kent entrepreneurs
about the funding opportunities available for businesses in East
Kent, with over £15m in interest-free loans still available for
businesses with plans to grow and create jobs in the area.
He was followed by Charles Armstrong, who presented a digital
map of East Kent generated by Trampoline Systems, and
suggested that tech, digital and creative businesses in the area
grew by an average 5% year on year during the recession, and that
the overall rate of business formation in the sector has risen 400%
in the past decade.
Dale Murray, Jude Ower and Luke Quilter debated the growth
prospects for digital companies, and the importance of community
and environment, in a session chaired by Folkestone and Hythe MP
The event was also addressed by Linda Chandler, chief architect
for cities and regions at Microsoft, who spoke on the future of
cities and the potential of East Kent and Canterbury. Liam Gooding
and Deeson Online digital
strategist Lizzie Hodgson then joined Charles Armstrong to discuss
the growth of digital clusters, in London and East Kent.
Eric van der Kleij, Head of Level 39 and former CEO of Tech
City, rounded off the event, attended by 100 entrepreneurs from
across London and East Kent, and covered by the
International Business Times,