A £7.4m project to make sure underrepresented communities and businesses benefit from the thriving technology, science and digital sectors has been launched.

Hackney, Islington, Camden and Tower Hamlets councils are working on the four-year LIFT (Leading Inclusive Futures through Technology) initiative.

It is the first in the country to focus on the "knowledge economy" – helping to ensure local residents are skilled-up and ready to launch careers or start-ups in sectors which have not only weathered the Covid-19 storm, but often flourished in it.

The programme is being led by Islington Council and delivered in partnership with entrepreneurship not-for-profit firm Capital Enterprise, which has supported more than 3,500 small businesses and created nearly 7,000 jobs in new start-ups since 2014.

It aims to help address the stark underrepresentation of some communities in these sectors, including women, those with disabilities, lone parents and people from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds across all four boroughs.

LIFT will seek out employment and training opportunities from leading digital and tech firms, and aims to secure new affordable workspace for businesses in the knowledge "hubs" in the four boroughs – the Knowledge Quarter in King’s Cross, the Cally Road area, Silicon Roundabout in Old Street and Whitechapel’s Med City.

Ham & High: Cllr Asima Shaikh, Islington Council’s executive member for inclusive economy and jobsCllr Asima Shaikh, Islington Council’s executive member for inclusive economy and jobs (Image: Islington Council)

Islington Council’s employment chief, Cllr Asima Shaikh, said: “LIFT is about helping our local residents who are very under-represented in these growth sectors, which are on their doorsteps.

"In the future, we want anyone who shows potential to be able to get a job and succeed in the science and tech industries, with help and guidance from experienced hands and the workshop or desk space they need to turn great ideas into reality.

“It will undoubtedly create much greater diversity in this sector and help businesses discover the leaders of the future."

The project will also help smaller local firms that have yet to get a foothold in digital commerce – which is essential to help their survival in today’s competitive world.

For more information, see LiftFutures.London.