Sadiq sets out vision for a growing and inclusive economy

13 December 2017
  • Mayor’s new Economic Development Strategy aims to create economy that works for all Londoners, with new measures to support small businesses and entrepreneurship
  • New £100m Small Medium Enterprises (SME) fund to invest in growing businesses
  • Mayor launches pioneering Civic Innovation Challenge for small tech companies addressing issues on inequality, climate change and ageing population
  • Help for those of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds to boost science ambitions and access business finance

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today launched his Economic Development Strategy, which sets out how he will help to ensure that all Londoners share in the benefits of London’s prosperity as it grows, alongside a package of new initiatives which will support entrepreneurs and help small businesses across London to grow and flourish.


These include plans for a brand new £100m fund to help small businesses in the capital flourish. Sadiq’s proposed new SME Fund will make loan and equity investments in small businesses. The scheme aims to support budding companies and entrepreneurs in the capital which are looking to raise money to take them to the to the next level.


It also aims to help plug the funding gap which sees some smaller companies find it difficult to line up new investment to help them expand. 


Unveiling his draft Economic Development Strategy at the Federation of Small Business’ Winter Reception, today, Sadiq explained how he wants to build on his manifesto pledge to be London’s most pro-business Mayor ever, create an economy that delivers for everyone and leaves none of London’s communities behind. It also sets out measures to address the fact that although London is one of the richest cities in the world, the city is home to some of the poorest neighbourhoods in the country.


He has also challenged tech start-ups and medium-sized businesses to develop innovative solutions that will help address some of the big issues facing London and Londoners – from inequality to air quality and the health challenges of an ageing population.  Using funding from the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), 15 companies will initially be selected to receive targeted business support with up to three of them receiving £15,000 to further develop their ideas. The Mayor will set out the exact terms of this initiative, known as the Mayor’s Civic Innovation Challenge, next year.


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


By channelling investment into key areas, equipping Londoners with the skills, education and training they need to participate in the modern economy, and by investing in infrastructure and offering targeted support to certain sectors – such as tech, life-sciences, and the capital’s creative industries - the Mayor believes he can deliver on this vision at the same time as helping London’s businesses go from strength-to-strength. 


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “When I stood to be the Mayor of London, I said I wanted all Londoners to have the same opportunities that this great city gave to me and my family.  This ambition is still what drives me every day as Mayor. 


“London has many economic strengths. Yet, despite this, there are still fundamental challenges with our economy that should trouble us all.  While London is one of the richest cities in the world, far too many Londoners are unable to share in the rewards of that success.  It’s shameful that almost three in ten Londoners currently live in poverty and that the talent of many Londoners is still going to waste when, with the right support and encouragement, they could be tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and senior business leaders.


“Inequality is not inevitable.  And a fairer city can be a more productive and prosperous city.  So I am setting out my plans to create 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. 


“If we continue to ignore the problems with our economy, we risk further embedding inequality, damaging the cohesiveness of our city and, ultimately, our future success.  So we must act now and I am as determined as ever to build an economy that delivers for everyone and leaves none of London’s communities behind.”


The strategy will also ensure that groups who are under-represented or who struggle against ingrained inequality in work and business, including women and those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, are able to enjoy the success of London’s economic prosperity.


The Mayor wants to work with schools, colleges, universities and industry to break down boundaries that are preventing girls and those from BAME communities from studying science, technology, engineering and maths.


Today he reaffirmed his commitment to set up the first-ever Mayor’s London Scientist programme by funding up to 5,000 pupils who are under-represented in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) sector to enter their projects for a national CREST Award – the top science award scheme for schoolchildren in the country.


The Strategy also proposes working more closely with BAME communities to ensure people have the digital skills they need for today’s economy, and that they can access finance for entrepreneurial activities.

Since becoming Mayor, Sadiq has worked tirelessly to support London’s businesses. This includes standing up for London’s businesses in the Brexit negotiations, investing a record amount to give Londoners the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow and successfully lobbying Government to reduce the impact of business rates increases. He has also promoted the London Living Wage and unveiled a new £7 million fund to help young Londoners access tech jobs. In addition, he has established his own Business Advisory Board who contribute their ideas and experience to helping to boost London.


Sadiq also chairs the London Economic Action Partnership, formerly known as the London Enterprise Panel. The LEAP brings entrepreneurs and business together with the Mayoralty and London Councils to identify strategic actions to support and lead economic growth and job creation in the capital.


Sue Terpilowski OBE, London Policy Chair, Federation of Small Business, said: “Micro and Small businesses rely on working capital as the bedrock of their business operations.  We support the Mayor of London with his new £100m fund and will be working closely with his team to ensure the majority of funding goes to the smallest businesses that will create the long term jobs and the growth opportunities in London.  


“The Economic Development Strategy, launched at the FSB Winter Reception today, will have significant implications on small firms currently weighed down with the cost of doing business.  We encourage all businesses to respond to the document and have their voice heard by the Mayor.”


Kathryn Parsons, Co-Founder & CEO of London technology education company DeCoded and a member of the Mayor’s new Business Advisory Board said: “It is great to see the Mayor taking such a proactive approach to economic development in the capital, particularly when it comes to helping those from underprivileged backgrounds. I’ve visited and worked in many other cities growing the business in the last year - Paris, New York, San Francisco, Berlin.  I still believe that London has the unique mix of cultures, mindsets and skills that make it the best place to start a business.  However, support and funding is desperately needed.  Sadiq’s £100 million fund couldn’t come at a better time.”


David Lutton, economic policy director at London First, said: “London is a successful global capital, but there’s much more potential in our city. If we support the next generation of businesses, with the right investment in skills, digital infrastructure and access to financing, we can unlock significant growth that will benefit the whole of the UK.”


Natalie Campbell, Member of the London Economic Action Partnership, said: “This signals a fresh new approach to approach to economic development in the capital, one that puts inclusivity at the forefront of London’s growth ambitions. We are really excited about the new funds being made available to small businesses and the innovative Civic Innovation Challenge will demonstrate how the London Growth Hub is evolving to offer some very specific and intensive support to innovative businesses in key sectors, whilst helping improve the way things are done in the public sector”.


Omid Ashtari, General Manager of Citymapper and a member of the Mayor’s new Business Advisory Board said: "With Brexit looming, businesses across London are faced with uncertainty. As we leave the EU, giving businesses confidence is key, which is why the Mayor's Economic Development Strategy is such an important document. London is home to many exciting tech companies so it's great that the Mayor’s Civic Innovation Challenge will provide more entrepreneurs with opportunities to take their ideas to the next level.”


Individuals can have their say on the strategy by taking the survey and joining the discussions on Talk London, City Hall’s online community:

Notes to editors

The SME Fund will comprise £32m from the European Regional Development Fund, with matchfunding comprising £50m from the European Investment Bank, £7m from the London Waste and Recycling Board and £11m from ‘legacy’ repayments from previous funds (matchfunding subject to formal confirmation).


The Mayor’s Civic Innovation Challenge is funded by the London Economic Action Partnership and will be delivered through its Growth Hub – a tool that helps connect London’s entrepreneurs, microbusiness and small and medium sized enterprises with the support that is available to help them start, sustain and grow.


The Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy prioritises:

  • Supporting future innovation and growth through helping businesses across different industries to take advantage of the opportunities in digital technology.
  • Helping more Londoners into work by tackling barriers to employment, particularly for women, disabled people and those from ethnic minorities. This can be done by making it easier for people to develop new skills through education and training.
  • Promoting economic fairness and making London the best place in the world to work through schemes such as the Mayor’s Good Work Standard and the London Living Wage.
  • Lobbying 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.
  • Promoting London and the wider south east as a pioneer of life sciences innovation internationally
  • Securing investment in the development of the Thames Estuary Production Corridor that will be a global centre of excellence for the creative industries.