EU businesses want closer collaboration with London post-Brexit

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TWO OF Spain’s largest companies announced new projects and further expansion in London last Thursday.

Just a day after the UK government began the formal process of withdrawing from the EU, Telefonica and Ferrovial made commitments to London, at an event organised by the Mayor of London’s International Business Programme, held to promote greater links between London and Madrid.

Wayra UK (part of Telefonica Open Future) unveiled plans to develop a new facility in North London, to help entrepreneurs in outer London pursue their start-up ideas. Backed by the GLA and Haringey Council, the hub will support around 10 digital start-ups per year.

The project is also a collaboration with former England football legend Sol Campbell, who is keen to ensure that the development of tech expertise also benefits London’s outer regions.

Meanwhile, the Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial announced the ‘Londoners’ Lab’, a collaborative innovation programme focusing on solutions to improve day to day recycling in flats and multiple occupancy houses.

The partnership between the GLA, Ferrovial Services, University College London and Future Cities Catapult will engage London residents directly to make them part of the solution and improve recycling rates.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘These announcements show that, despite Brexit, business leaders in Europe realise that London will remain a key partner in business, investment, talent, ideas and friendship. Our city was the only region in England to vote to remain in the EU, it is still the best place in the world to do business and our collaboration with other major European cities will not cease.’

The Deputy Mayor of London for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, also revealed the findings of a survey showing that sixty per cent of EU business leaders want continued or closer ties with London’s business community post-Brexit. Spanish business executives are the most optimistic about the future prospect of doing business with London, with sixty-three per cent of those surveyed saying they would like to see continued or closer collaboration with London.

Further analysis reveals that London remains a leading global destination for business growth in the short and medium term, with the majority of European business leaders saying that London was their preferred city for business growth in the next 12 months and 3-5 years.

Last week’s event saw business leaders discuss the opportunities for collaboration between London and Madrid in creating ‘smart cities’. London maintains its position as the top European ‘smart city’, according to the IESE Cities in Motion Index 2017, which will be published in April.

A trade delegation of 21 of London’s fastest growing companies, part of the Mayor’s International Business Programme, are accompanying the Deputy Mayor to Madrid to seek expansion opportunities in the ‘smart cities’ industry.

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