British innovation is being championed this week, as ten of the UK’s most exciting technology companies pitch to government, the private sector and investors in South East Asia, to win contracts and investment in the rapidly developing ‘Connected Cities’ sector.
The Connected Cities Trade Mission, organised by Innovate UK and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), will visit Malaysia and Singapore from 14 – 18 March 2016 to showcase British ingenuity and innovation. As part of the mission, the ten companies will visit incubators, private businesses and government, as well as hold roundtables and pitches with investors.
Following on from the British Prime Minister’s 2015 trade mission to South East Asia, this mission seeks to boost export opportunities in the region, which is at the global forefront of the connected cities sector.
A report by the Innovate UK-funded Future Cities Catapult identified over 32,000 companies in the UK providing, innovative, technology based solutions to the country’s smart cities market. Additional UK expertise in architecture and urban design is already contributing £16bn and 400,000 jobs to the UK economy.
Innovate UK, the Government’s innovation agency, identifies and supports companies to commercialise their innovations, through grant funding and by providing access to collaboration partners and potential investors at home and abroad. Since 2007 Innovate UK have helped more than 5,000 innovative companies develop innovations estimated to have added £7.5 billion to the UK economy and created 35,000 extra new jobs.
Niraj Saraf, Lead Technologist for Urban Living at Innovate UK, said: “This trade mission will see ten of the best UK companies showcasing their technologies in Singapore and Malaysia, two of the countries which are leading the way on Connected Cities. These companies’ innovations are key to addressing the challenges that large cities face. These challenges include growing populations, increased demand for energy and the integration of technology into citizens’ everyday lives. We believe these companies have huge growth potential and could become a vital part of the global Connected Cities industry in the near future.
The importance of developing British companies and getting them ‘export ready’ is clear. UKTI research shows companies that export are more profitable, more productive and more innovative than those that don’t. They are also more likely to survive any economic downturn.
Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: “The UK’s smart cities are an inspiration and a global leader in shaping great places to live. The Connected Cities Trade Mission will be championing British innovation and will help British companies pitch for export opportunities, meet investors and network with local firms in Malaysia and Singapore. I would encourage UK businesses to visit www.exportingisgreat.gov.uk, download an exporting guide, and see for themselves the array of support services available.”
Connected Cities follows on from a successful UKTI mission to the Smart Cities World Expo in Barcelona, where 16 UK businesses and 4 cities showcased their leading edge smart city solutions. Peterborough was crowned the ‘Smartest City of the Year 2015’ at the World Expo, beating competition from Dubai and Buenos Aires.