Facebook and Google will invest in the East End of London to help create Britain’s own Silicon Valley, the Prime Minister has announced.
David Cameron said he wants the proposed East London Tech City, which will encompass the Olympic Park, to become the global centre of technological innovation.
The initiative is intended to create private sector jobs and fuel growth in the economy.
Mr Cameron also unveiled special visas for foreign entrepreneurs who have financial backing from leading firms and a review of intellectual property laws to make sure Britain can keep up with the “internet age”.
In a speech to hi-tech businesses and entrepreneurs, Mr Cameron said: “Right now, Silicon Valley is the leading place in the world for hi-tech growth and innovation.
“But there’s no reason why it has to be so predominant.
“Our ambition is to bring together the creativity and energy of Shoreditch and the incredible possibilities of the Olympic Park to help make East London one of the world’s great technology centres.”
I want to encourage the sort of creative innovation that exists in America.David Cameron
Companies planning to invest in the area include Google, Facebook, Cisco, Intel and British Telecom.
Facebook vice president Joanna Shields said she applauded the decision which “will give start ups and innovators in the UK a home to realise their ambitions as part of the London 2012 Olympics legacy”.
Amid concerns about the impact of the coalition’s planned immigration cap, Mr Cameron will introduce a new “entrepreneur visa”.
“These entrepreneur visas will mean that if you have a great business idea and you receive serious investment from a leading investor, you are welcome to set up your business in our country,” he said.
The review of IP laws is a response to Google’s founders saying they could not have started their company in the UK because of its system of copyright, Mr Cameron will tell his audience.
Ministers would see whether they could overhaul the law to make it “fit for the internet age”, he added.
“I want to encourage the sort of creative innovation that exists in America.”
However, the plan may surprise firms based near the University of Cambridge, which is one of several areas to have been described as the UK’s answer to the famous California tech-hub.
Dubbed “Silicon Fen”, it attracts a significant amount of venture capital.
Companies along the M4 corridor have also claimed to represent Silicon Valley on this side of the Atlantic and the technology sector in Scotland has been described as “Silicon Glen”.