Tech ambassador on the world stage, Russ Shaw, is using his influential voice to fortify London’s position as a global powerhouse.
Founder of both Tech London Advocates (TLA) and Global Tech Advocates, a collection of tech leaders, experts and investors uniting to form the most influential private sector group in tech, Russ provides extensive support to the sector through working groups and events to discuss preferred direction of policy. Even to his own surprise, the TLA initiative has proved so successful that it has penetrated the tech sector on an international level.
“We launched the TLA India group to connect Bangalore and Mumbai and London. Then two years ago I went to Beijing and set up TLA China. Now we have groups in Africa, MENA, Latin America, Ireland, Russia, Turkey – Korea in the pipeline, it’s crazy.”
Whilst ‘London is Open’ for business, Russ says there is still much to do in terms of promoting immigration and visa policy within government: “If you look at the London tech community, one in five is from the EU, one in three is from overseas, Russ says. “So if we’re sending out a message that overseas talent is not welcome, or that we’re going to lose freedom of movement, which a lot of these companies have relied on, that’s going to impact the sector.
“Shortage of talent and lack of diversity is the number one issue that will slow us down and impact our growth. We’re talking gender, black and minority ethnic. We’re talking LGBTQ, and we’re talking people with disabilities, all of the above. What are the things that we can encourage startups and scaleups to do, so that they’re trying to go into different types of recruitment pools?”
Russ also cites real estate and connectivity as two key factors in supporting and promoting London as a hotspot for tech: “Property, in terms of getting more accelerators, incubators, and coworking spaces, because property is so expensive. We need to keep pushing on broadband speeds and reducing the amount of broadband ‘not-spots’ that are around London. It’s getting better but it’s still an issue.”
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