New DCMS minister Nadine Dorries opens London Tech Week 2021

Organised in the aim to bring tech businesses across London together to drive economic recovery while practicing sustainability and inclusivity, London Tech Week began with a keynote speech by Dorries, who was appointed last week in a government reshuffle.

Dorries’s predecessor Oliver Dowden, meanwhile, was appointed Conservative Party co-chairman, having served as DCMS minister since February 2020.

The opening speech at London Tech Week began with the new minister stating: “It’s been a baptism of fire. I only took over the role as digital secretary on Wednesday, and I’m already here amongst you three days later, kicking off the biggest tech event in Europe.”

Dorries went on to express belief that she had taken on her position “at the best time”, before stating that the UK tech sector will be “absolutely essential to our Covid recovery”.

The DCMS secretary continued: “Year after year has seen record-breaking growth, and this morning, my department has released new figures that show we’ve just smashed all previous records for unicorns and venture capital investment in 2021.

“It took us 24 years to create the first 20 unicorns, and we’ve already matched that in the first six months of this year.

“As a proud Scouser, I’m happy to say that it’s not all about London. Every nation and region is seeing growth in the digital economies. Scotland and Wales are smashing Fintech; Northern Ireland and the South West are hotspots for cyber security; the East Midlands have healthtech; Yorkshire and the Humber have space tech.

“There’s a real buzz across the entire country, and a sense amongst entrepreneurs and investors that the UK is one of the most welcome environments for tech in the world.”

In conclusion, Dorries said: “To this government, it doesn’t matter what you look like. It doesn’t matter where you came from. What matters is who you are. You are the entrepreneurs of today, we are on your side, and we’re ready and waiting to celebrate your success with you.”

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A step in the right direction, says founding partner

Reacting to DCMS minister Nadine Dorries’ speech at London Tech Week this morning, Russ Shaw CBE, founder of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates, and founding partner of London Tech Week, commented: “The jury is still out on whether Nadine Dorries will be a natural champion of UK tech, but showing immediate support for London Tech Week is a step in the right direction.

“The new Secretary of State inherits a British tech sector that is creating jobs, attracting investment and driving world-class innovation. However, there are significant challenges that need to be addressed – from a continued lack of diversity and inclusion in tech to establishing immigration visas for international tech talent that are affordable and efficient, from managing the evolution of GDPR to maintaining a regulatory environment that is envied worldwide.

“London’s tech companies will be paying close attention to whether the tenth DCMS Secretary of State in ten years backs the capital’s most successful industry. Whilst today’s speech didn’t offer any surprises, for now we will have to take her involvement in London Tech Week as a positive sign of things to come.”

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.