Tech City is a waste of Government money. Tech City is run by “nontrepreneurs”. Tech City is jumping on the bandwagon, taking credit for organic growth of startups in Shoreditch. Tech City is little more than a PR company justifying its own existence. Tech Shitty. These are all criticisms levied at the UKTI-funded scheme.
Fighting against these criticisms are a torrent of Tech City press releases, which boast that there are a million new startups in the area, that the area is making both Silicon Valley and the City quake in their diamond boots, and that Digital Shoreditch will be as big as SxSW in four years.
Somewhere in the no-man’s-land of this battle of words lies the real story. In my investigations for my feature on Tech City, I spoke to the organisation’s fiercest opponents, its strongest supporters and many people in between.
The overwhelming feeling that is that Tech City hasn’t defined its role clearly enough to the community members it represents, and this is the source of tension. Its “ambitious” branding and press releases, which are really targeted at foreign direct investors, serve to paint a picture of a place that no one inSilicon Roundabout recognises. This opens the organisation up to criticism from a vocal few who feel that that Tech City doesn’t really understand the real needs of the community.
These are precisely the same sort of marketing embellishments adopted by startups themselves, to paint a rose-tinted picture of their performance to would-be investors. But government spin is deemed to be altogether less palatable.