Sadiq launches Economic Development Strategy and new AI scheme

29 November 2018

• Mayor publishes Economic Development Strategy as part of plans to create a fairer, more inclusive city
• New scheme to help businesses take advantage of Artificial Intelligence

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today published his strategy to make the capital a fairer, more inclusive city – including plans to help small businesses take advantage of the opportunities created by the capital’s flourishing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and technology sectors.

The Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy sets out how he will help to ensure that all Londoners share in the benefits of the capital’s prosperity as it grows and create an economy that delivers for everyone and leaves none of London’s communities behind.

By doing so, it will help to address the fact that, although London is one of the richest cities in the world, it is home to some of the poorest neighbourhoods in the country.

Meanwhile, the Mayor’s latest tech initiative will see him launch a new online resource to help small businesses understand and take advantage of the benefits technology and AI can bring, as larger companies are already doing. This will help them to secure new customers, grow their business and become more productive and competitive. The service is funded by the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), chaired by the Mayor, and will launch in 2019.

The overarching goal of the Economic Development Strategy is to boost competitiveness and create a business environment that is not only friendly to employers – in terms of helping investment and growth – but also fair, where all companies play by the rules and where all Londoners stand to benefit.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Our Economic Development Strategy sets out how we can build an economy that works for all Londoners, and ensure that they have access to the opportunities that this city gave to me and my family.

“The strategy sets out how we will work to build a more inclusive economy that works for all Londoners - an economy that enables everyone to reach their full potential, supports entrepreneurs and small businesses and ensures neither opportunity, nor achievement are limited by gender, race, sexuality, religion, disability or background.

“This also means ensuring our small businesses have access to opportunities that corporates already take advantage of. Our great city is a global centre for innovation, from artificial intelligence to virtual reality and cybersecurity. Many large businesses are already adopting these technologies to aid productivity and competitiveness – and we must ensure that small businesses have the opportunity to access those same benefits.

“London has a burgeoning tech scene, from artificial intelligence to virtual reality and cybersecurity – and through our new tech initiative, we are determined to ensure that small businesses can tap into the benefits that these new technologies offer.”

The Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy prioritises:

• Helping more Londoners into work by tackling barriers to employment, particularly for women, disabled people and those from ethnic minorities.

• Working closely with trade unions, businesses and civic society organisations to promote economic fairness. This includes promoting the London Living Wage and launching next year the Good Work Standard, an initiative that will promote good practice in employment and will make London the best city in the world to work.

• Lobbying the government for an approach to immigration that allows talent from around the world to live, work and study in London.

• Developing a new world-class, fit-for-purpose skills and education system that meets the needs of businesses and London’s economy.
Since becoming Mayor, Sadiq has worked tirelessly to support London’s businesses. This includes standing up for London’s employers in the Brexit negotiations, investing a record amount to give Londoners the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow and successfully lobbying ministers to reduce the impact of business rates increases.
Sir William Sargent, Chief Executive of Framestore and a member of the Mayor’s Business Advisory Board, said: “It is great to see that the Mayor is standing up for businesses in London. His Economic Development Strategy will help to support businesses of all shapes and sizes as we navigate Brexit. I am also pleased that it emphasises ensuring those from less well-off communities are able to enjoy the success of the capital.”
Tabitha Goldstaub, Co-Founder of the AI advice platform, CognitionX, said: “Tabitha Goldstaub, Co-Founder of the AI advice platform, CognitionX, said: “With 758 AI tech companies, London is one of the best places in the world for innovation BUT it can also be a complex landscape to navigate. Understanding the benefits of AI and then who to work with in order to safely adopt these new techniques is crucial. As such, I’m thrilled to see the Mayor of London is committed to democratising access to the information needed for small businesses to responsibly unlock the power of AI.”

The Mayor’s support for small businesses is being delivered hand-in-hand with a focus on investment in skills. Through his Skills for Londoners initiative, he is supporting businesses to make sure they are prepared for the opportunities technology and automation bring. He is also investing £7m to find and develop the next generation of home-grown tech talent to meet a growing digital skills shortage in the capital.

Notes to editors


The Mayor’s proposed new small business tech initiative will provide sector-specific information on the latest technologies, direct small businesses TO where they can access new technologies, and offer a forecasting tool to help them better understand the financial benefits of investing in new technologies.

Due to launch in 2019, it will be an online resource, available on the Growth Hub - a one-stop shop for all business support in London, in partnership between the Mayor and the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP).
Artificial Intelligence is the ability of machines to exhibit human-like intelligence with the ability to perform tasks such as decision support, reasoning, learning, visual perception, speech recognition, and language translation.
The Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy can be accessed online at

The Mayor published a major piece of research from Cognition X earlier this year that showed that London is home to 758 AI companies – double the total of Paris and Berlin combined. They specialise in more than 30 industries with particular strengths in insurance, finance and law. Some 645 of these companies have a headquarters in the capital.* This report is available at

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