Under the motto “London is open”, the Gran Vía Telefónica site played host to an event promoted by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, serving as a meeting ground for Spanish and English companies, with the goal of encouraging investment in the capital of the United Kingdom once the country leaves the European Union.
The event was inaugurated by Carlos López Blanco, Telefónica’s global director of Public Affairs and Regulation, who stated that it is highly important to Telefónica that London remain an open city within a global economy, and expressed his confidence in future relationships between Madrid and London businesses, despite Brexit.
On his side of things, Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London for Business, stated the desire to provide great value to start-ups and that supporting talent is one of the most important goals in this sense.
At the round table on Smart Cities, the director of City Promotion and Innovation from the Madrid City Council, Roberto Sánchez, emphasised that Madrid's priorities include fighting against climate change, improving mobility, increasing energy efficiency and achieving greater transparency.
Rajesh Agrawal, first on the left side, together with executives from IBM, Microsoft and Telefónica.
At the event, through the CEO of Open Future, Javier Placer, Telefónica announced new projects and greater expansion in London. Wayra UK, which pertains to Telefónica Open Future, plans to develop new installations in Haringley, in the North of London, to help businesspeople promote their start-up ideas.
According to surveys performed by London & Partners, the official promotional agency for the London City Council, 60% of EU business leaders wish to maintain, or strengthen, relations with the London business community following Brexit.
During the second part of the event, meetings were held between various British and Spanish start-ups, including Reward Technology, Gamar, NFC Ring, Yoti, Slido, Open Seneca, Olio, Aspin International, Design for Social Change, Geouniq, GrubClub, Jambo, Masabi, Mastodon C, SeaB Energy, Sky-Futures, Social Life, Space Syntax, SpaceHive, Tevva Motors, Vantage Power, Verticly, Yoti, etc.
The day before, as part of the activities for the delegation, the UK ambassador to Spain, Mr. Simon Manley held a dinner at his house attended by multiple Spanish and British companies, for the purposes of strengthening interests between the two countries. Representatives from Institutional Relations and Open Future attended on behalf of Telefónica.
Other representatives from Spanish companies participating on the panels were Maria Garaña, Vice-president EMEA, Microsoft Business Solutions, Elisa Martin Garijo Chief Technology Officer for IBM Spain, Portugal, Greece and Israel, Valentín Fernández, Director for Business Development, Telefonica Open Future, Pablo Sarrias, CEO, Open Seneca, Inigo Jodra Centre of Excellence for Cities Director, Ferrovial Services and Marieta Del Rivero, Senior Advisor, Ericsson.