Mayor of London boosts Trade Links between London and Chicago

London is the leading, global city for Chicago-based companies looking to establish an operation outside of the United States, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan will announce today at an event hosted at the Chicago innovation hub 1871.The Mayor will be joined by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to highlight the opportunity to strengthen trade and investment links between Chicago and London, as part of his international trade mission to the United States.

London's finance sector

According to data compiled by London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s economic development company, London is the leading global destination city for foreign direct investment from Chicago. In the last ten years more Chicago-based companies have chosen to setup in London than any other global city including Tokyo and Singapore, and significantly more than the nearest European cities of Amsterdam and Paris1 

Leading Chicago-based businesses that have invested in London include the real estate specialist Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), the insurance giant AoN which moved its international headquarters to the capital and the world’s largest aerospace company Boeing, which has its British headquarters in London and announced ambitious UK expansion plans earlier this year. 

Technology is one of the biggest sectors in Chicago investing into London. Speaking at today’s event, the Mayor of London will say London remains open for business, and will urge digital businesses to follow the lead of a number of Chicago-based companies that have already committed to London including online food delivery company GrubHub, e-commerce marketplace Groupon and fintech company Avant. 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is the world’s most competitive city, offering expanding international companies unrivalled talent and creativity and a time zone that overlaps with other financial centres of power. Our technology sector is unparalleled across Europe, open to all and home to all manner of tech and digital companies who are helping to drive economic prosperity across the capital. I am delighted that Chicago businesses are investing in London and recognise that our great city is a true business powerhouse. 

Sir Michael Arthur, president of Boeing Europe and managing director of Boeing UK and Ireland added: “Boeing has doubled its workforce in the UK over the past five years and we intend to do so again in the years to come. London will play a crucial role in our growth plans at several sites, across our defence and commercial businesses, as well as our subsidiaries.” 

London is Europe’s largest and most diverse technology hub, employing more than 200,000 people and driving investment from across the globe. There are now more than 40,000 digital technology companies in the capital, with that figure expected to exceed 50,000 by 20252 

The growth of London’s tech sector has been boosted by the 156 co-working spaces and innovation hubs now established in the capital, more than any other European city3 

At the heart of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Here East is London’s home for making and one of London’s largest innovation hubs. With over a 1.2 million square feet of dedicated space for creative and digital companies, it is designed as a place for start-up, entrepreneurial businesses to co-exist and collaborate with global, established businesses and support genuine product innovation. Here East will create over 7,500 jobs as well as training and education opportunities with two world-leading universities on site. 

Gavin Poole, CEO of Here East and London Technology ambassador will speak alongside 1871 CEO Howard Tullman talking about the importance of innovation hubs and how cities such as London and Chicago can share ideas and collaborate.  

Gavin Poole, CEO of Here East said: “In a globalised world, innovative cities like London and Chicago can communicate and collaborate as if they are neighbours. Centres of innovation like Here East are international platforms which provide all the constituent components to allow creative businesses to scale, to pioneer new technology, share expertise and collaborate on the products of tomorrow. 1781 shares that vision held by a growing number of centres globally. That’s why we know that whether it’s Here East and 1781, our partners, or other businesses in our respective cities, we have the opportunity to learn from one another, grow together and collaborate the same way that companies based with us do.” 

“Technology allows all companies to be global from day one,” said Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871. “At 1871 we are focused on helping our companies see the global marketplace and connecting them to opportunities around the world. We welcome Mayor Khan and the 30 companies joining him and we look forward to continuing our relationship with London.” 

To coincide with the Mayor’s visit, Chicago based brokerage firm TJM Holdings has announced that it will open its first European office in London. Meanwhile, the world’s largest options exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) recently announced its first international business development office in London in June this year.  

London’s status as a leading global financial services centre has also attracted a large number of Chicago’s businesses, with financial services representing the top sector for foreign direct investment from Chicago into London1. 

Steve Beitler, Co-manager TJM Europe, LLP said: “TJM Holdings desires to continue its global expansion plan which has led our firm to establish our first foreign based office in the City of London.  We believe that London and the UK have always been the place of origin for the capital and debt markets. London is also the most competitive, developed financial centre in the world, and that’s right where TJM wants to be.” 

A trade delegation of thirty of London’s fastest growing tech companies that are seeking investment and export opportunities in America will also be travelling to the US. The delegation is being led by the Deputy Mayor of London for Business and Enterprise, and Chairman of London & Partners Rajesh Agrawal. The trade mission, which is organised by the Mayor’s International Business Programme is designed to support high-growth companies to increase their export success across a range of key markets in North America, Europe and Asia. 

Emma Sinclair, Co-founder of EnterpriseJungle and delegate on the trade mission said: “I am honoured that EnterpriseJungle has been asked to join the Mayor and such an illustrious group of delegates. London is an economic powerhouse and our tech community is built on the shoulders of thriving, high growth, ambitious entrepreneurs and companies who are feeding the world’s strong appetite for innovation and intelligence. For me, this trip celebrates the naturally symbiotic relationship between high growth companies with innovative and intelligent software such as ours, and US enterprises who need our products such as those we are meeting this week, to build strong relationships and foster increased trade between the US and UK.” 

Janet Coyle, Principal Adviser on the Mayor’s International Business Programme added: “The thirty companies travelling with us on the Mayor’s International Business Programme represent some of the most exciting London tech companies and demonstrate the vibrancy and diversity of London’s tech sector. London and Chicago have shared strengths in technology and innovation and a strong culture of entrepreneurship that will help cement opportunities and partnerships. We also look forward to welcoming more Chicago businesses to London.  There is no greater city for American companies looking to expand into Europe and scale into other international markets.”  

Following his visit to Chicago, the Mayor will travel to New York for a series of engagements with political and business leaders where he will continue to strengthen the case for further trade and investment between London and the United States.