Mobile contactless payments could be coming to market stalls on the streets of London if London’s City Hall and Mayor Boris Johnson have anything to do with it. This week saw the launch of a a £20m London Regeneration Fund to encourage new ideas. The mayor hopes technology innovators will work with local authorities and traders to develop a new contactless payment system for market stalls.
The London Regeneration Fund will give local authorities, traders’ associations, workspace providers, and community groups the chance to come forward with technology focused proposals to breathe new life into the city’s high streets. The Mayor has already invested more than £175 million that has helped more than 85 high streets adapt to changing circumstances and thrive. This funding has also seen 1,000 shopfronts improved, hundreds of jobs created and training and support received by 3,500 businesses and young people.
“Our dynamic high streets are teeming with economic activity and bristling with creative minds but we need to make sure they are equipped to meet the demands of our ever-changing city. This fund will take everything that is so good about our local town centres and fuse it with ground-breaking technology and innovation to create high streets that will power our economy for years to come,” said Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
To launch the campaign, the Mayor’s Office is hosting a ‘Regen Bootcamp’ (#regenbootcamp) with ‘open ideas’ sessions that will see designers, architects, tech innovators and social entrepreneurs collaborate with local authorities, community and business organisations to thrash out innovative ideas to support London’s high streets and places of work.
London’s 800,000 small and medium-sized businesses account for nearly half of the capital’s jobs and generate approximately £430bn turnover. The Mayor believes they hold the potential for much of London’s future enterprise, innovation and economic growth, but are struggling to find workspace. The capital is also Europe’s most important tech hub, with its 40,000 technology businesses employing almost 200,000 people and forecast to generate around £18bn worth of economic activity for the London economy in 2015.
“The regeneration fund is an example of the London Mayor’s commitment to innovation following on from the successful contactless roll-out with TfL and the acceptance by consumers for contactless payments,” commented Guy Douglas, Digital High Street Consultant. “The Regeneration Fund launch was attended by all of the London regeneration experts, where there was a real interest in the online, mobile and contactless sectors and what they could do for the regeneration of Britain’s high streets.”
The fund is open to proposals from boroughs, as well as sub and regional partnerships, town teams and business improvement districts, workspace providers, community groups and charities within London. The deadline for applications is October 2015 and successful applicants will be notified by January 2016.