London and New York best at fostering innovation

New research shows that the cities of New York and London provide the best environment for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

New York and London are the top two cities for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, according to a new report. The research, published by innovation charity Nesta, Accenture and the Future Cities Catapult, sought to measure how well a city strives to support budding businesses in the tech community.

"We set out to measure the quality of the policy environment - how well city governments are supporting the growth of a tech community," said John Gibson, study co-author and Director of Government Innovation at Nesta.

"Ultimately we want this to be genuinely useful for policymakers, and to bring to light the most innovative ideas from cities around the world."


Data collated from 40 cities

The key questions asked in the research were: is the city open to new ideas and new businesses? Has the city put the necessary infrastructure in place to support tech startups? And how does the city build “entrepreneurship and innovation” into its own activities?

After measuring 40 cities worldwide for these various business-welcoming criteria, the research found that the top five cities were New York, London, Helsinki, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. So it seems that city policymakers across Europe are getting it right when it comes to supporting digital thinking.

Out of several key issues the report looked at, London excelled in the regulation category, and how regulators seek to accept and accomodate new firms. In this case, Uber is a perfect example of how regulators and startups can work together.

“The approach taken by London to Uber makes a good compromise,” the report noted, as drivers must have a Public Carriage Licence, which includes criminal and driving record and vehicle quality checks. However, there is currently no limit set on the number of licences available.


Silver medal for London

In this category, London came second only to Amsterdam, and far surpassed New York. However, overall, New York overcame fierce competition from London to win first place. London only lost out narrowly however, as it had consistent strong performance across all areas of analysis.

“Its silver medal is well deserved,” the report said about London.

London was the highest performer overall across the three Openness roles, confirming its reputation as an open and global city, according to the report. Meanwhile, it has a sophisticated approach as a customer of new ideas, and is an energetic advocate of the local tech sector.

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