Making London the best city in the world to live, work and do business through.
Academics, business leaders, creatives and policymakers came together to discuss London’s future – its opportunities, challenges and how more people might be able to share in the capital’s growth and development.
The event marked the launch of Vibrant Capital, the beginnings of a conversation about how we can help create one of the best of the cities in the world to live, work and do business through. To achieve it, we will make new connections and find fresh approaches to old challenges.
“As a business we are often asked, why are we doing this? Why do we care?” said Sacha Romanovitch. “If we can help the economy – and the people who are part of it – thrive then we will thrive. The fundamental concept that underpins what we’re doing is that profits with purpose lead to sustainable business.”
The value of London
Entrepreneur and CEO of Incisive Media Tim Weller reflected the tone of the evening when he asked what London wants to stand for: “Every business needs a vision but if you want a long-lasting business you have to have an agreed set of values. That’s how we should be thinking about London. What do we want to stand for? What will make us different? Will we be known as a compassionate, inclusive, diverse, tolerant and creative city?”
The need to think beyond traditional metrics was picked up by A Very Good Company co-founder Natalie Campbell who said London’s status as a great place to live depended on creating a ‘soul-full’ city – one that is full of creativity and proud of its local attractions and amenities.
Deputy Mayor of London for Business Rajesh Agrawal shared a similarly optimistic view about where the city is heading: “I’m passionate about London and it’s clear that everyone around the table is confident London can do very well… This city is a great place to be and people come from all over the world to be here.”
A key take-away was that maintaining the city’s success depends on redefining what growth looks like. Business growth must be sustainable and achieved in a way that improves the lives of as many Londoners as possible.
Capital challenges, innovative solutions
“The attraction to London is strong but it puts pressure on finite resources,” said Will McWilliams. “We have to make choices now that are informed by what to expect from the future.” Along with many of London’s strong points, affordable housing and pressures on infrastructure were cited as challenges.
“We have to look ahead and create a plan for making London the exemplar of a city where businesses can grow and expand but quality of life is high,” said Professor Frances Corner, Head of London College of Fashion.
Recommendations proposed by guests to maintain London as great base for people and businesses alike included adjusting ordinary working hours, allowing more people to work remotely and engaging with house builders and local government to co-create innovative solutions.
The story that London deserves
Guests were united in their desire to hear a more positive story told about London, which accurately reflects the reality. One made the point that we have some of the best education institutions in the world, amazing small businesses and high-performing corporate spin offs. Therefore we need to start shouting about what we have because there are so many amazing things going on.
Getting the story right will allow London to attract and keep the best talent from around the world. London is not just a unique city, but as our capital it is integral to the success of the UK. Businesses have a responsibility to contribute to this story and showcase their successes. That is why, as part of Vibrant Capital, we will encourage businesses and their leaders to highlight the great things they are doing to make London the heart of a vibrant UK.
Businesses have a responsibility to contribute to this story and showcase their successes. That is why, as part of Vibrant Capital, we will encourage businesses and their leaders to highlight the great things they are doing to make London the heart of a vibrant UK.
This was the first in a series of events and activity that celebrate the city’s strengths and uncover the brilliant things happening across London. Get in touch to see how you can get involved.