Here East hires head of special projects to help it become 'the esports hub of the UK'

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Here East, a tech and innovation campus in London that hopes to become a major esports hub in the UK, has made a new senior appointment.

It has hired Louise Connolly-Smith as Head of Special Projects (Creative) with a focus on video games and esports. This will be a six-month temporary move from London & Partners.

Here East is a growing video games and esports cluster near Stratford.

Recently, Staffordshire University (which offers an esports degree) announced it is moving its esports hub Digital Institute London to the campus, joining the likes of Football Manager developers Sports Interactive, Loughborough University London, BT Sports, Bidstack and the innovation departments of Ford and Ladbrokes Coral.

They’re joined by a range of startups and early stage companies in the hub’s Plexal innovation centre.

Originally built as the media centre for the London 2012 Olympics, Here East has been converted into 1.2m sq ft of business space.

“London is a global leader in video games and esports is a huge growth opportunity that Here East is perfectly placed to help develop.”
Louise Conolly-Smith, Here East

Louise Conolly-Smith will be on secondment at Here East from London & Partners, where she is currently Head of Creative, promoting London internationally as a leading world city in which to invest, work and visit She will continue her Creative Sector work for London & Partners during this secondment.
Prior to becoming Head of Creative at London & Partners, Louise was working with North American tech companies based in London, aiding them in their expansion. Louise is also a mentor for the London & Partners Business Growth Programme and has worked at the Design Council delivering a national business support programme as well as at Business Link as a coach and mentor to high growth companies.

The Here East campus has brought more than 3,900 jobs to the Stratford area.

Louise Conolly-Smith said: “I’m really thrilled to be working at Here East and am looking forward to using my experience of promoting London to help amplify the amazing work that has been taking place here. London is a global leader in video games and esports is a huge growth opportunity that Here East is perfectly placed to help develop.”

Gavin Poole, Chief Executive of Here East, added: “We are delighted that Louise will be joining Here East, bringing her wealth of experience on fast-growth tech businesses in London to the campus. The games sector is expanding at a phenomenal rate and we are aiming to cement our reputation as the esports hub of the UK.”

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