Green Technology in Shoreditch

TechCity and London's Silicon Roundabout have been at the heart of London's technology scene, which has made Shoreditch a major centre for high tech industries in the United Kingdom. There is also a growing green technology community in and around Shoreditch and the Silicon Roundabout.

Green technology can take one of two main forms. Clean technology or cleantech deals with the physical side of green technology and the green economy. Think driverless cars, electric vehicles, green energy infrastructure, and smart metres when looking at clean technology. On the pure information technology of green technology side there is cleanweb. Taking advantage of social media, mobile communications and the internet, this type of green technology includes environmental data, online marketplaces, and crowd-sensing apps. By used better information, cleanweb technology and industries can help improve energy efficiency and reduce inefficiencies using IT-driven solutions rather than a physical product.

Shoreditch's green economy companies are relatively small and new when compared to other tech businesses in East London. Businesses range from developing online apps, computer software, and other information technology solutions that help reduce carbon use to firms developing green transport systems and solutions. Examples of firms in the area include AMEE, CarbonCulture, Fairphone, GnERGY, Loco2, Mastodon C, and Voyage Control.

The rise of green technology start-ups in Shoreditch is being helped by venture capital and other sources of business financing and support in the area. Cleanweb UK is a non-profit organisation that is dedicated in raising the profile of cleanweb in London and the United Kingdom. The non-profit and its Cleanweb London group organises regular meet-ups, talks and workshops, and hackdays. These events are designed for entrepreneurs, businesses and individuals working in clean, green, and sustainability-related technologies on the web. Topics of Cleanweb UK events generally focus on energy, sustainability and technology. Other Cleanweb UK groups are also active in Scotland and Brighton.

Another support for Shoreditch green technology businesses is Bethnal Green Ventures. This business accelerator programme supports social and environmental start-ups by offering seed funding in exchange for equity. It also offers participants mentoring, structured networking, and a shared workspace at the Google Campus. The three-month programme supports software developers and designers, as well as other high-potential individuals with early-stage ideas that can provide solutions to social and environmental problems. These might include ideas related to education and employment, health and well-being, or sustainability. Past participants in the programme include Aparito, Biblio, Birdsong, Club Soda, GroupU, Hospify, imin, Health VR, OurPath, and Run an Empire.

Government supports are also helping green technology firms in and around Shoreditch. The innovative UK's Energy Catalyst is designed to support new technologies that help reduce carbon emissions, increase security of supply, and cut the cost of energy. Projects that are being supported in the first round of funded projects include the development of a new engine that runs on landfill emissions and Europe's largest battery. Government supports including changes to energy and environmental legislation and policy as well as new funding tools will play an important role in influencing what happens to the green technology sector in Shoreditch and across the UK in the future.

Shoreditch's green technology community is still in its relative infancy when compared to the area's high technology industries. In the coming years, the emerging sector is expected to continue to grow and change. While new spaces are emerging in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford City and the Royal Docks, there are also new developments rising around Shoreditch High Street that can be the home of new green technology firms in the near future. How this segment of Shoreditch's vibrant technology sector evolves will depend on how entrepreneurs, start-ups and other businesses access financing and skilled workers, as well as office space in Shoreditch.