New ‘Tech City’ to open in Barking

Zaid Ahmed, Thomas John, Jacky Lloyd and Seun Oshinaike - part of the team behind Digilab in Barking

Zaid Ahmed, Thomas John, Jacky Lloyd and Seun Oshinaike - part of the team behind Digilab in Barking - Credit: Archant

A new digital technology project is hoping to put Barking on the map as the next Tech City.

Digilab, a pioneering partnership between local social enterprise Brighter Steppings and the Barking Learning Centre, will offer space for those interested in tech a chance to realise their ideas.

Boasting 3D printers and virtual reality headsets, the centre will also have a ground-breaking smartphone-controlled robotic car racing game Anki Overdrive.

Co-founder of Brighter Steppings Seun Oshinaike believes Digilab is the start of something special for the borough.

“We’re hoping to create somewhere for people with ideas who perhaps wouldn’t have got the chance to build things elsewhere,” he said.

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“What we’re trying to create just doesn’t exist at the moment in east London so we want to build it here.

“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and be overly ambitious, but hopefully we can deliver something a bit like Tech City in Barking and Dagenham.”

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Plans are even in place to host Robot Wars-style competitions where people can put the designs they’ve been working on that week against others in a friendly, competitive environment in front of spectators.

“It’s good news for Barking and Dagenham and will hopefully benefit the people of this borough and put it on the map,” added Seun.

Last year Seun won a Rising Star award from the Directory of Social Change and a TalkTalk Award for Internet Safety for anti-bullying app Silent Secret.

Allowing people to post comments anonymously, the app has been downloaded across the globe and boasts more than 1.7million engaged members.

Set to open next month, those behind Digilab are also on the look-out for interested tech companies to base themselves at the new digital hub.

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