News Release

Prime Minister to Announce Cisco, DC Thomson and UCL Innovation Centre in the Heart of Shoreditch

Prime Minister David Cameron today announced IDEALondon in
Dec 06, 2012

Prime Minister David Cameron today announced IDEALondon in London's Tech City, an innovation ‘hot-house' established by Cisco, DC Thomson and UCL as the Innovation and Digital Enterprise Alliance (IDEA).

IDEALondon aims to support the growth of digital and media companies, in particular the most promising start-ups which have come to characterise the area known as Tech City. It is anticipated the facility will host around 25 digital and media companies which, it is hoped, will collectively employ around 100 people in TechCity, in addition to staff working in other locations across the country. 

The facility – a unique alliance between a world-leading research institution, a world-class information technology provider and an international media company – delivers on the partners' commitments to support Tech City. It represents over £3.5m of investment by the three partners over the first three years of operation, with additional investment in individual businesses. 

Unlike typical business incubators and accelerators, IDEALondon will support companies who will be championed by one of the key partners. IDEA will develop services to support and grow start-ups in the digital and media sectors which are clustered in the Shoreditch area, with each partner bringing their own strengths, existing relationships and expertise to the project.

IDEALondon will offer access to consultancy and mentoring programmes, as well as other opportunities for training and business support including through UCL's centre for entrepreneurship, UCL Advances. In addition, UCL researchers will work from IDEAL, drawing on UCL's existing world-leading research excellence to develop innovative new digital products and services.

 It will also be a significant addition to the Cisco UK National Virtual Incubator (NVI) network which aims to stimulate entrepreneurship by connecting leading innovation locations across the UK together using Cisco's world-leading collaboration technologies.

IDEALondon will be closely linked to a second centre that DC Thomson will establish in Dundee to support the formation and acceleration of start-ups in the digital industry, including the existing video games cluster that is located there. 

In addition, IDEALondon will host the UCL DECIDE project, in collaboration with UCL, DC Thomson and the BBC in what is intended to be the world's largest ‘living lab' for digital and media projects and which will see the university utilise its staff and student body of 30,000 as a closed community for testing and evaluating digital products in pre-commercial development.

Speaking in advance of the announcement, Prime Minister David Cameron said:

"This Government backs aspiration and innovation and has long recognised the potential of a world-leading technology cluster in London as a source of long-term growth for our economy.

"The presence of a globally renowned research university, together with a technology giant and a leading global publishing firm will further boost Tech City and will help us to compete and thrive in the global race".

Professor Stephen Caddick, Vice-Provost for Enterprise at UCL and a member of the Government's Tech City Advisory Group, said:

"The tech community has said Tech City needs a firm commitment from a world-leading university to provide an academic heartbeat – providing research to exploit, education in business skills and a supply of talent in the form of highly education graduates – and UCL provides all three."

Phil Smith, CEO of Cisco UK and Ireland, said:

"We are delighted to be partnering with University College London and DC Thomson to open the new IDEALondon facility in Shoreditch. With the area fast becoming a hub for talented digital, technology and media businesses, creating an innovation centre in Tech City is a key element of Cisco's British Innovation Gateway programme. It is great to be providing the thriving community with a facility which brings together the strength and expertise from an alliance of renowned leaders in these industries.

"We are delighted to welcome IDEALondon to our National Virtual Incubator (NVI) which is integral to our ‘Building a Brilliant Future' London 2012 legacy, supporting the development of Britain's innovation ecosystem and creating an environment in which start-up digital businesses and their ideas can flourish."

"By working together with UCL and DC Thomson, Cisco can support the Government's objectives to drive economic growth through high-tech innovation and build a brilliant future for British entrepreneurs and the businesses of tomorrow."

Director of DC Thomson Richard Hall said:

"DC Thomson has a long and successful history of supporting small businesses in reaching their potential.

"IDEALondon represents an exciting opportunity to further promote digital entrepreneurs in the UK, in particular through connectivity with other growing centres of innovation such as Dundee. By working alongside Cisco and UCL, we hope to provide a unique contribution to the TechCity landscape."


Notes to editors

For enquiries or to arrange an interview with one of the spokespeople quoted, please contact:

UCL – Henry Rummins, Media Relations Manager (Enterprise), 0207 679 9063/

Cisco – Abigail Watts, Cisco UK & Ireland PR Manager,  

DC Thomson – Fiona Armstrong, Senior Communications Business Partner, 01382 575 604 /

  1. About Cisco


Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate.  Information about Cisco can be found at For ongoing news, please go to

  1. About DC Thomson

DC Thomson is a long-established private company which has been publishing newspapers and magazines for over 100 years.  The company's headquarters is in Dundee, Scotland, with a London base in the world-famous Fleet Street.


DC Thomson publishes a wide range of newspapers, magazines, comics and books.  It also has interests in many fields including television, radio, printing and retailing, the internet and online services.

Other companies in our Group include leading genealogy and IT business services provider brightsolid; Parragon Books, a global value books publisher based in Bath; magazine publisher This England; and Puzzler Media, the leading publisher of puzzle magazines in the UK based in Surrey.

  1. About UCL (University College London)


Founded in 1826, UCL was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion or gender, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine.


We are among the world's top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. UCL currently has 24,000 students from almost 140 countries, and more than 9,500 employees. Our annual income is over £800 million. It is ranked as the number four university in the world in the current QS World University rankings.


UCL DECIDE, which is intended to be the world's largest ‘living lab', is a European Regional Development Fund (EDRF) project part-funded by the European Union. | Follow us on Twitter @uclnews    email:


  1. About IDEA


The Innovation and Digital Enterprise Alliance – IDEA – comprises UCL, Cisco UK & Ireland and DC Thomson. The aim of the alliance is to establish the IDEALondon facility in Shoreditch to better support Tech City in East London and the contribution of digital enterprise to the UK economy. Further details can be found at


  1. About Tech City


The Tech City initiative was launched by Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson in November 2010 to support the growth of the technology cluster in East London. At the time of the launch, there were approximately 200 digital companies in East London. Today, there are over 1,200 digital companies in the area, including Google, Intel, Cisco, Amazon and Vodafone.


The Government has supported the growth of Tech City through ambitious policies to promote technology and innovation, such as the Entrepreneur Visa, generous new tax breaks for early stage investment, and tax breaks for video game production. Government is also investing £25 million in super-fast broadband in Tech City and key parts of London.