EU businesses want closer collaboration with London’s business community post-Brexit

Two of Spain’s largest companies will today announce new projects and further expansion in London. Just a day after the UK Government began the formal process of withdrawing from the EU, Telefónica and Ferrovial will make commitments to London, at an event organised by the Mayor of London’s International Business Programme, held to promote greater links between London and Madrid.

Wayra UK (part of Telefónica Open Future_) will unveil plans to develop a new facility in Haringey, North London, to help entrepreneurs in outer London pursue their start-up ideas. Backed by the GLA and Haringey Council, the hub will support around 10 digital start-ups per year outside of the traditional tech centres of central London.            

The project is also a collaboration with former England, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur football legend Sol Campbell, who is keen to ensure that the development of tech expertise in the capital is not confined to the centre but also benefits the outer regions of London.

Meanwhile, the Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial will announce the Londoners’ Lab, a collaborative innovation programme which will focus on solutions to improve day to day recycling in flats and multiple occupancy houses.

The partnership between the GLA, Ferrovial Services, University College London and Future Cities Catapult will engage London residents directly to make them part of the solution and improve recycling rates. 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “These announcements demonstrate that, despite Brexit, business leaders in Europe realise that London will remain a key partner in business, investment, talent, ideas and friendship. Our city was the only region in England to vote to remain in the EU, it is still the best place in the world to do business and our collaboration with other major European cities will not cease.”

Javier Placer, CEO of Telefónica Open Future_, added: “As we can see in several European studies, London is always a reference, a mirror in which we can look at and learn on how to make business with an innovative spirit. At Telefónica, we share this view and we think that nowadays, thanks to the technology, it is possible to work together, no matter where you are and that is why we created Telefónica Open Future. Talent is global and you only need to create synergies with other partners from other parts of the world and other industries to make real the ideas and projects that can digitalize the world and create a better future for all of us. The cooperation between companies and public entities is what makes cities and citizens go forward” 

Santiago Olivares, Chief Executive Officer of Ferrovial Services, said: “London is definitely a global reference in urban innovation, a forward-thinking city which is making great progress on key issues such as data-driven management, citizen engagement and circular economy. We’re convinced that partnerships between local governments and service providers are a key driver to efficiently improve the performance of cities, and the experience they offer to residents and visitors alike.”

Speaking at today’s event the Deputy Mayor of London for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, will also reveal the findings of the survey showing that sixty per cent of EU business leaders want continued or closer ties with London’s business community post-Brexit.[1] Spanish business executives are the most optimistic about the future prospect of doing business with London, with sixty three per cent of those surveyed saying they would like to see continued or closer collaboration with London.

Further analysis reveals that London remains a leading global destination for business growth in the short and medium term, with the majority of European business leaders saying that London was their preferred city for business growth in the next 12 months and 3-5 years. Despite the UK’s decision to leave the EU, London ranked higher than New York, Singapore and Tokyo.

Today’s event will see business leaders discuss the opportunities for collaboration between London and Madrid in innovation and creating ‘smart cities’. London maintains its position as the top European ‘smart city’, according to the IESE Cities in Motion Index 2017, which will be published towards the end of April.[2]

A trade delegation of 21 of London’s fastest growing companies, part of the Mayor’s International Business Programme, are accompanying the Deputy Mayor to Madrid to seek expansion opportunities in the ‘smart cities’ industry.

[1] London & Partners Executive Survey, March 2017. (400 businesses surveyed in France, Germany, Spain and Ireland.) Executive summary available here.

[2] Preliminary results of The IESE Cities in Motion Index 2017.

Notes to Editors

Notes to Editors      

Full list of companies attending the trade mission:

  • Aspin International Ltd
  • Design for Social Change Ltd
  • Gamar
  • Geouniq
  • GrubClub
  • Jambo
  • Masabi
  • Mastodon C
  • NFC Ring
  • OLIO
  • Reward Technology Ltd
  • SeaB Energy
  • Sky-Futures
  • Slido
  • Social Life Ltd
  • Space Syntax Limited
  • SpaceHive
  • Tevva Motors Ltd
  • Vantage Power Ltd
  • Verticly
  • Yoti

About the Mayor’s International Business Programme

The Mayor’s International Business Programme, is a £5million programme part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), aims to support high-growth companies in the life sciences, technology and urban sectors to increase their export success across a range of key markets in Europe, Asia and North America.                                                

The three year programme, which will target 800 companies, is being led by London & Partners, the Mayor’s official promotional agency, in partnership with KPMG, PA Consulting, BDO, Benoy and London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

About Telefónica Open Future_

Telefónica Open Future is Telefonica´s global platform designed to connect her to entrepreneurs, startups, investors and public and private partners around the world to capture innovation and business opportunities. Its goal is to support talent at all stages of growth through a comprehensive model for acceleration that is designed to connect talent with organisations, investors and companies. The programme incorporates all of Telefónica Group's open innovation, entrepreneurship and investment initiatives (Think Big, Talentum, Crowdworking, Wayra, Amérigo and Telefónica Ventures) through a global network that is open to participation by external partners that wish to develop their own entrepreneurial and investment strategies, and connect to large corporates. To date, more than 51,000 proposals have been analysed, over 1,600 startups have been accelerated and 700, invested. Telefónica Open Future_ is present in 17 countries and has committed to investment, with its partners, a total of 445 million euros. More info:

About Ferrovial

Ferrovial is one of the world's leading infrastructure operators and municipal services companies, committed to developing sustainable solutions. The company has 96,000 employees and operates in over 20 countries. Its main business areas are: Toll Roads, Services, Construction and Airports. It is a member of Spain's blue-chip IBEX 35 index and is also included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and FTSE4Good; all its operations are conducted in compliance with the principles of the UN Global Compact, which the company adopted in 2002.

About the IESE Cities in Motion Index

The IESE Cities in Motion Index (IESE CIMI) measures the smartest cities in the world annually. Led by IESE profs. Pascual Berrone and Joan Enric Ricart, IESE CIMI goes beyond just measuring technology and the environment to examining all aspects that make up sustainability and quality of life in 181 key world cities. Compared to other indices, IESE CIMI has one of the largest ranges of data analyzed and geographical coverage. More info here:

IESE is the business school of the University of Navarra. With campuses in Barcelona, Madrid, Munich, New York and São Paulo, IESE is consistently ranked within the top ten worldwide - including being ranked #1 in the world for executive education by the Financial Times for two years in a row (2015 and 2016). IESE seeks to develop business leaders with solid business skills, a global mindset and a desire to make a positive impact on society. The school distinguishes itself in its general-management approach, extensive use of the case method, international outreach, and emphasis on placing people at the heart of managerial decision-making.

European Regional Development Fund

The project is receiving funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit


Lora Jones, Senior Press Officer

020 7234 5730