Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said he wants the capital to lead the way in smart and clean technologies, and has unveiled a new incubator fund to help achieve that goal.
Last week the mayor opened London Tech Week and set out the ambitious aim of establishing London as the world’s “leading ‘smart city’” which places digital, low carbon technologies and data management at its centre.
Opening the event, Khan said that low carbon, digital technologies are essential to tackling some of the capital’s most prominent economic, social and environmental challenges, particularly in air pollution, housing and transport.
In order to help realise some of those technologies the mayor unveiled a new funding initiative dubbed ‘Better Future’, a clean tech incubator fund which is to help support London-based businesses specialising in those fields.
The Better Future scheme will receive a total of £1.6 million of funding – half of which has been supplied by the European Regional Development Fund – to act as an incubator for small and medium-sized enterprises developing low carbon and clean technologies.
With the aim of supporting around 100 companies in London, the fund will specifically look to launch new low carbon solutions to the market to help meet Khan’s smart city ambitions.
The fund will also look to stimulate collaborative efforts between 20 SMEs and research institutions delivering low carbon innovations, while 25 enterprises will be helped to design, develop and introduce new products.
It will help meet one of Sadiq Khan’s mayoral manifesto commitments to establish a technology talent pipeline and become a ‘zero carbon’ city by 2050, and the mayor said the potential for such technologies to solve environmental challenges was “immeasurable”.
“From air pollution and climate change to housing and transport, new technologies and data science will be at the heart of the long-term solutions to urban challenges,” he said.
Better Future is to build on a number of other mayor-backed schemes currently being pursued with the aim of furthering the capital’s clean technology and energy industries. Energy for Londoners – a publicly-owned utility for the capital – is edging closer to a full launch and Sadiq Khan is understood to be readying a solar strategy to help stimulate deployment of the technology throughout Greater London.