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Create, Innovate, South London: how Stride will support our tech sector to thrive and diversify

Cllr Joe Dromey, our cabinet lead for employment and skills, explains how we're helping the creative, digital and tech sector thrive in uncertain times.

The coronavirus pandemic has triggered an economic crisis which has hit Lewisham and south London hard. In addition to supporting local businesses to weather the storm, Lewisham Council is determined to build for the future.

The creative, digital and tech sector is an important and rapidly growing part of our economy. We want to support the sector to thrive, and we want our part of London to be the best place to start-up and grow a business.

That’s why we’re so excited about Stride. A partnership between the London Boroughs of Lewisham, Lambeth, Southwark and Wandsworth, Stride is a business support and innovation programme focused on supporting creative and tech enterprises in our part of London. Stride aims to create the space and support for creativity and innovation to thrive in south London.

In addition to supporting the sector to thrive, we need to ensure that these opportunities are open to all in our community. At present, London’s creative and tech industry does not fully reflect the diversity of the capital. Given how important the creative, digital and tech sector is for the future of our economy, this is a challenge we must address.

Addressing this imbalance will be a key aim of Stride. It will seek to ensure that opportunities within the sector are more accessible to people who are underrepresented and too often underestimated. We’ll be holding events focused on supporting diversity in the sector at London Tech Week, and Stride’s newly launched Innovation Fund will help to support diverse talent starting out in creative and tech careers.

Stride is just part of our effort to support jobs growth in this crucial sector of our economy. We are working with Goldsmiths University of London to create a new enterprise hub in New Cross, which will create over 3,000 sq ft of incubation space for local entrepreneurs, and bring together local businesses with the expertise from the university. Our Creative Enterprise Zone in New Cross and Deptford is focused on supporting the creative and digital sector to grow. It aims to protect and extend availability of affordable workspace, to support businesses to network, and to create pathways from education into employment in the sector.

Find out more about Stride and how you can get involved.

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