Artists impression of the South Plaza. Image: London Legacy Development Corporation

Games will be catalyst, not the solution, to regenerating East London, legacy conference told

The Olympic and Paralympic Games have been a catalyst for the regeneration of East London, not an instant solution in themselves, a conference on the legacy of the Games was told yesterday. Dennis Hone, the chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation which will oversee the process of transforming the physical space of the […]

Kingsland Road, Hackney - the other side of the digital divide. Pic Hackney Plus

Education and business forge links to combat the digital divide blighting Hackney’s young

A ‘digital divide’  is blighting the work prospects for young people in Hackney who are failing to develop careers in the new hi-tech economies of east London, a meeting was told today. The workshop at pop-up venue Hackney House heard that although there had been an estimated 30,000 jobs created in the digital industries in […]

Artists impression of new housing in E20. Image: London Legacy Development Corporation

As the Games near their end, the legacy for East London is only just beginning

The extraordinary event that has been the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games maybe drawing to a close, but the legacy it has left behind will change parts of East London forever. The regeneration of vast swathes of East London – blighted by neglect, under investment and a post-industrial landscape was a key element of […]

Andrew Humphries, right, introduces the winners to the audience

Start-Up Games winners taken on trip to Downing Street on Routemaster bus.

More than twenty budding business entrepreneurs were treated to a trip to Downing Street on a new version of the famous Routemaster London bus to celebrate being winners from the Hackney House Start-Up Games event. At Downing Street, the winners were presented with their awards by model, actresss and entrepreneur Lily Cole, who has her […]

Think creatively about your product, hire your people imaginatively and network like crazy – these are some of the pathways to success, budding entrepreneurs were told today at Hackney House.
Addressing an invited audience from start-up companies around the world, Debu Purkayastha, head of new business development at Google, said those in the new digital economy did things very differently from traditional business practises. 
He said: ‘’Do not, for instance, assume that if you are trying to sell a new product that you have to go straight to the commercial managers – perhaps the project managers or engineers are the best people to talk to. And you will meet people like that at events like this.’’
Purkayastha was speaking on the second day of the two-day Start Up Games event at Hackney House, the venue set up to promote Hackney during the Olympic and Paralympic Games period. The Start-Up Games event, organised by UK Trade and Investment and the Tech City Investment Organisation was designed to showcase and recognised some of the world’s most exciting business enterprises. Read our preview here
Google recently launched the Google Campus, near to Old Street roundabout in the heart of the Tech City area as a work space  for start-up and small enterprises and where it sponsors mentoring programmes and networking events.
Companies such as Google were anxious to learn from start-ups, Purkayastha said. ‘’You guys are at the forefront of what’s happening and they want to learn from you, so use that.’’
Networking was now a key to success for any new business. ‘’It really is about attending events like this and speaking to people such as myself about your ideas. You really have to get out there and meet people – there is no substitute for it. You are never going to make that important connection just by phone calls alone. Identify the events you need to go to and use your network.’’
When developing a digital product, he said, it was important to consider the needs of users. ‘’You must creatively address a real user need – something that somebody needs.’’
A company most important resource and source of its innovation and ideas was it people, he stressed during a question and answer session with the audience. When he had joined Google he had realised that one of the things that made it special was that it was possible to approach anyone in the company for assistance and they would help.
But, he pointed out, it was important to think small: ‘’The really big stuff comes from small teams.’’  And he added a word of warning for companies acquiring start-up enterprises: ‘’Don’t take the positives out of the culture. It is important to ensure that the essential nature of the start-up remains.’’
Purkayastha also stressed it was important to think out of the box when hiring new people, citing the example of the company which placed a series of posters around a city posing abstract puzzles and offering job interviews to people who could solve them. ‘’That’s the way to find interesting employees,’’ he said.
Speaking afterwards, Purkayastha said Google’s decision to place the Google Campus in the area was a direct result of its view of the Shoreditch and Tech City area as an exciting and innovative part of the digital economy. ‘’We didn’t really have to think about it, it was obvious.’’
He added: ‘’We really hope that this area becomes a self sufficient eco-system that is as important as places such as Silicon Valley, but that it does things in a very different way.’’

Debu Purkayastha, speaking at Hackney House

Top tips from Google on the search for digital success

Think creatively about your product, hire your people imaginatively and network like crazy – these are some of the pathways to success, budding entrepreneurs were told today at Hackney House. Addressing an invited audience from start-up companies around the world, Debu Purkayastha, head of new business development at Google, said those in the new digital […]

Hackney House

The verdict on Hackney House – a buzzing and eclectic showcase for the best of the borough

Two weeks of events at Hackney House designed to showcase the borough’s wealth of creative talent were hailed as a great success last night, as a triumphant party featuring local star Little Boots, brought it to a close. More than 12, 000 people passed through the doors of Hackney House during the two weeks of […]

Llitle Boots closes the show at Hackney House Pic Kim Rix

Triumphant beats bring two fantastic weeks to a close. And the Olympics weren’t bad, either.

Hundreds of people packed into Hackney House last night for a triumphant closing party as local resident and electro pop star Little Boots celebrated both the end of the Olympics and the end of two weeks showcasing Hackney at its creative best. Victoria Hesketh aka Little Boots is small in stature but has a big […]

Making your pitch at young entrepreneurs day Pic: Sophie Gost

Budding entrepreneurs get the secret of success – use your passion to drive your idea

“One of you in here will have a really successful business in a few years,” Jason Goodman, founder  of Hackney creative agency Albion,  told an audience of budding young entrepreneurs at Hackney House  yesterday. His  declaration was directed at more than one hundred 18 – 25 year olds from across London who packed out the […]

Kerry Hopkins at the easel Pic: Sophie Gost

Among the high tech world of digital design, a lesson in the simple art of drawing

To mark Creative Hackney Day at Hackney House yesterday, visitors were treated to a free master class by The Prince’s Drawing School, based in Shoreditch since 2000 and founded by The Prince of the Wales.  Kerry Hopkins went along to try her hand… It was probably the biggest art class in England yesterday. Former graduates […]

Makie Dolls

Custom-made dolls, the new Sellotape and a printer the size of your hand – all created in Hackney

 The variety of digital start ups in the area around Hackney House was graphically demonstrated to an audience of nearly four hundred people this morning for the venue’s Creative Day. Chairing a panel of four guest speakers from local companies, Nik Roope, the founding Partner of creative agency Poke, announced: “They have come probably no […]

The future vision for Silicon Roundabout Image: Architecture 00:/

The £30 million plan to turn Silicon Roundabout into the heart of Tech City

For a public space that has become the symbol of the new creative digital economy of Hackney and the Tech City area, the so-called ‘Silicon Roundabout’ is to many people something of a disappointment. An embarrassment,  even. Now, an ambitious, multi-million pound new plan could transform Silicon Roundabout into a major civic space worthy  of […]

Light installation by Jason Bruges studio, Olympic Park,

Lighting installations, virtual worlds and new ways of working – investors shown what’s happening in Hackney

Hackney and the Tech City area is the best place in London for entrepreneurial digital businesses, Jules Pipe, the Mayor of Hackney,  told companies considering moving to the area. He was speaking at a lunch at Hackney House, which is hosting a series of exhibitions and meetings during the Olympics to showcase the borough to […]


Turning honey into money by putting the bee into banks

A thriving beehive is the last thing you expect to find on top of a major City bank. But secret gardens run by The Golden Company, a social enterprise project based in Fellowes Court, are springing up across the rooftops of the square mile. They’ve even occupied the London Stock Exchange – apparently, the chairman is […]

citizenM hotels Pic:citizenM

Multi-million pound hotel boom confirms Hackney as the new destination hub of London

The arrival of boutique hotels such as Shoreditch House and Boundary in Hackney confirmed that the East London borough was on its way to becoming a destination in its own right, able to compete with the capitals more conventional tourist attractions with its own blend of the digital and creative economies, street fashion, new music, […]

The North Circular - from left Jo Gibson, Katherine Poulton, Patricia Sumner

Cutting edge fashion in Hackney: home knitting, rare breed sheep and a sense of community

Homeworking, knitting and active ‘grannies’ are not normally associated with cutting edge fashion and supermodels. But then Hackney likes to do it differently. The North Circular, the knitting company based in Hackney and founded by models Lily Cole and Katherine Poulton uses elderly and retired people from all over the country to hand knit their […]

Olympic torch. Pic LOCOG

Mayor: Design duo’s Olympic torch demonstrates Hackney’s creative abilities to the world

  The fact that the Olympic Torch was designed in Hackney proved to the world the abilities of the creative designers to be found in the borough, Jules Pipe, the Mayor of Hackney said today. Opening the Design in Hackney Day at Shoreditch’s Hackney House, he said:“We want to show the world what Hackney can […]

The Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe. Pic: Leo Castellanos

Advanced 3D maps and cutting edge gaming – venture capitalists learn all about East London

More than a hundred venture capitalists from all over the United States and the United Kingdom were given an insight yesterday into the potential for investment in advanced digital ventures in Hackney. The venture capitalists, in London on a two-day visit hosted by the Government’s Tech City Investment Organisation, which aims to bring capital into […]

Eric van der Kleij speaking at Hackney House

Tech City head: digital sector ”only serious growth area for British economy”

The digital sector – largely based around East London – was the only part of the economy capable of delivering significant growth in the near future, the head of the Government’s Tech City initiative said today. Speaking to the audience at the Digital Shoreditch Creative Tech Day at Hackney House, Eric van der Kleij, the […]

Clive and Habib

How to channel digital creativity: do it in person, keep it intuitive and listen to the older generation

Channeling creativity in the digital world was the theme of the keynote presentation by two leading City University academics at the Digital Shoreditch Creative Tech Day at Hackney House. Professor Clive Holtham and Habib Lesevic, both from Cass Business School, staged an entertaining joint discussion covering such areas as whether creativity can be collective or […]

Tech_City_Map copy

Digital futures on show at creative tech day

City University will continue its support of the digital revolution of East London today, in an event designed to showcase how fertile the area is for investment. Visitors from all over the country and the world will get the chance to meet and greet some of the industry’s most promising and cutting-edge talent at the […]

Hackney street mural

Celebrating the creativity and diversity of Hackney

Everyone in London knows that Hackney, at the heart of the East End, is an amazing centre of creativity – whether it is the rapidly expanding high tech digital economy, the imagination of its artists and its fashion designer or the skills of its chefs and food growers and the talent of its musicians. Now, […]