Can Silicon Roundabout ever top Silicon Valley?

With a Government push to create our own tech hub in the centre of London, Jennifer Scott looks at why Silicon Valley is such a success and what lessons the UK can learn from the hotbed of innovation in the heart of California.

Is there any hope for our fair isle and could we ever take the crown from Silicon Valley, or at least replicate a decent competitor?

"You can think of it like a start-up problem," said Skrenta. "It's lonely at the beginning [but] once you get some momentum going though, you'll win believers. You have to be willing to make a bet though."

As with a start-up, it will take time to create such an environment though.

The UK and Europe overall has not created anywhere near the same number of tech giants that create a halo effect for start-ups to form.

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"This is certainly not an overnight process. It takes a dedicated effort to build a culture that encourages and rewards risk-taking behaviour by businesses," said Harty. "It will likely take many years, but there are signs that this is starting to happen."

Not everyone is so positive about the UK's chances, however.

"The UK and Europe overall has not created anywhere near the same number of tech giants that create a halo effect for start-ups to form," claimed Robinson.

"There are no UK equivalents to HP, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM or Cisco, and the scale of these players means that they have the resources to acquire any interesting UK-based companies that do emerge."

There are pockets that hint at thriving tech industry already being established in the UK, according to Lock, but again it is about more than buildings and companies.

"The UK already has concentrations of technology innovation in places like Cambridge and parts of the M4 corridor. But again, in my opinion, it is more about people and attitudes than location, especially in the financial markets where cash should come for investment," he said.

"Financiers in the UK appear to be less willing to take risks, or possibly don't really understand the risks in technology start-ups and therefore avoid them."

The UK has the talent in its universities, has Government backing and, as we continue out of the recession, we can benefit by having arguably the world's financial centre as our capital city.

What we need to work on though is attitude, being willing to take a risk, fail if needs be, but keep trying to invent that new technology, company, product or service that will have an impact and make a difference

It seems unlikely we will ever topple Silicon Valley, but we could come up with some great innovations whilst trying and, perhaps, failing.

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