May 13, 2014 | Written by: Rob Lamb
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Today, IBM announced more news about how we are helping to power the UK digital economy. At an event in the heart of London’s Tech City, I addressed an audience of entrepreneurs from the London startup community as well as other influencers and press, to announce a new investment in Shoreditch Works—a global community of tech, digital and creative startups.
IBM will enter into a sponsorship agreement with Shoreditch Works and the Shoreditch Village Hall space to offer software developers, entrepreneurs and start-up companies a series of co-curated opportunities to bring IBM expertise to the Tech City cluster. Together, IBM and Shoreditch Works will be providing events at the Village Hall space, and sharing knowledge and expertise on the topics that are driving a new era of innovation in our world, including cloud technologies such as BlueMix and SoftLayer, plus mobile, internet of things, and cognitive computing.
Our aspiration is that over the coming years, our relationships with venture capitalists will deepen and broaden—as will our investment in startups. In partnership with venture capitalists and through our investments, we will help the next generation of entrepreneurs bring innovations to market and help transform business and society. Today’s announcement is an important step forward in this mission.
(Related: Introducing the IBM BlueMix Garage)
Personally, I’m thrilled to be part of this new era of innovation. In a world where organizations large and small compete for business in the global digital economy, an enterprise’s ability to innovate and restlessly reinvent itself is crucial to success.
According to the Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s digital economy is growing at around 10 percent each year, and it will account for 10 percent of our GDP by 2016.
These figures, combined with the unprecedented confluence of technology shifts (cloud, social, mobile and analytics), only serve to reinforce the vital role of digitalization in the global economy.
The UK startup community is a vital element of the digital economy, and IBM has long been passionate about supporting, developing and collaborating with these entrepreneurs. We have learned from experience and from our own research that innovation and collaboration walk hand-in-hand. No single business holds the key to success in the global digital economy, and when enterprises—whatever their size—collaborate across the market, innovation becomes ever more impactful.
For nearly two decades, we have forged relationships with venture capitalists behind the scenes to learn about their portfolio companies, and we have engaged with more than 2,000 startups through our Global Entrepreneur Program, which launched in 2010. More recently, we have been collaborating directly with startups, offering cloud services for thousands of born-on-the-web companies, and working with startups to help them build services powered by Watson, the cognitive computing system that shook up the world by beating two former grand-champions on the US TV quiz show Jeopardy!.
Our latest foray came when IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty announced the Watson Mobile Developer Challenge—a first-of-its-kind, worldwide competition to promote development of mobile consumer and business apps powered by Watson. This challenge joins initiatives such as the IBM Cloud marketplace, SoftLayer Catalyst, Watson Ecosystem and Watson Venture Capital Fund all aimed at engaging this vital community of innovative thinkers and entrepreneurs.