In an effort to ensure the UK remains the home of technology talent, Microsoft has announced the opening of a new Reactor space Centre.
The $20m centre will be located in Shoreditch, London, designed to bring the technology community together to develop innovations and put the UK at the forefront of the industry.
Projects such as looking at key issues across the technology industry, such as AI ethics and diversity will be carried out at the centre. Examples include AI in health events, augmented reality and machine learning events. The centre also aims to close the widening digital skills gap, ensuring all new businesses in the tech industry have the adequate skills to become world leaders.
Other events on offer include heckathons, technology events and social impact projects for up to 120. The local technology community, including start-ups, coding clubs and technology entrepreneurs will have access to the various events. The aim of each event is to encourage growth and innovation of the new technology businesses.
“The Reactor is a $20m investment by Microsoft over the next 10 years,” Cindy Rose, Microsoft partner’s customer and products UK Chief Executive, said. “It’s a reflection of the enduring commitment to the UK as a destination for digital innovation, and the importance that we place on nurturing and developing start-up talent in the UK, which we know is Europe’s hotspot for technology innovation.”
The UK, London named in particular, was recently revealed as the most favoured place to home a new tech-start up despite the nuisance of Brexit. The new centre created by Microsoft only encourages this further, helping to strive towards the Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock’s, vision to become a world leader in the digital age. Furthermore, the centre will help achieve the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s vision to tackle the skills gap.
Rose said: “The skills challenge is absolutely one that has to be tackled. This space is specially designed and located in the heart of Shoreditch to help us connect better with the technology start-up and scale-up community, offer access to Microsoft’s technology, platform and tools, and connect businesses with our enterprise customers and partners.”
In addition to the new centre, Microsoft has also launched a digital skills programme within the UK that runs until 2020. The aim of the programme is to ensure the UK maintains its prominent position in the tech industry, across cloud computing, AI and other emerging technologies.
Additionally the company has launched a Cloud Skills Initiative, which will see 500,000 individuals across the UK be trained in cloud technology. Microsoft has also extended its programmes to partner with NHS and ensure every industry has the necessary skills.
Warwick Hill, Managing Director for start-ups and scale-ups in the UK said: “We want to bring in the schools of tomorrow, the entrepreneurs of tomorrow and the agile thinkers of tomorrow, and make sure that girls and young women, in particular, see technology as a viable career path for them,” he said.