Boris Johnson announces £100 million tech fund for Middle East startups

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In a move designed to bring booming tech ecosystems in the UK and the Middle East closer together, London mayor Boris Johnson has announced his intention to launch a £100 million fund to encourage tech startups, entrepreneurs, and innovators from the Arab and Muslim worlds to come to London to exercise their creativity. Johnson made the announcement on a Google Hangout as part of the InnoTech Summit, a network of events seeking to foster increased interconnectivity between entrepreneurs, investors, and policy makers.

InnoTech founder Jennifer Arcuri told Wamda that the fund is part of a larger initiative for the UK to help form relationships between “startup clusters around the world,” as well as strengthen those bonds that already exist. “Our message is,” she says, “‘the UK is building tech economies and we want to partner with you.’”

Boris Johnson and Arcuri’s InnoTech have realized that the Middle East is hardly an emerging market in the field of technology. Arcuri says “I keep telling policy makers: it’s not if and when it happens in the Middle East; it’s already happening in the Middle East.” Also, as reported by TechWorld, Johnson cited a recent conversation with a source who a source tells Wamda was H. M. King Abdullah of Jordan, who told him that “the tech scene in the Middle East is booming, in the same way” that it is in London.

InnoTech has been a vital part of bringing this fund to fruition. While where exactly the money will come from is still unclear – Johnson says he hopes other countries will pitch in their support – announcement of the fund is already a leap for the London-based network towards its stated goal of increased communication, understanding, and dealings between policy makers and beacons of the business world.

Click here to watch a short video summing up the InnoTech Summit.

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