The UK's history as a world-leading business centre goes back many centuries, and, these days, it's a hub for tech scale-ups and innovation. So, what has led so many global tech entrepreneurs to establish their HQ in the United Kingdom?
We will look at why the UK is a hotbed of tech talent and start-ups, from access to capital, grants, and a diverse and educated workforce.
#1. Ease of doing business
UK services reach a global market. To achieve impressive growth, you need access to a broad market, and the UK is frequently seen as a suitable base for large ventures that seek to positively impact climate change, food, and health internationally.
Many businesses in the UK's knowledge-economy sector use cutting-edge tech to solve global problems.
Overall, Britain's stability, modernity, and first-class infrastructure make it an excellent place to start a business that can thrive beyond UK borders.
#2. Access to capital
In the first quarter of 2022, UK start-ups raised almost $7bn in venture capital. Last year, investment in tech scale-ups and start-ups tripled. The UK accounts for about one-third of all money invested in the European tech sector.
Disrupting industries takes time and a lot of resources. Access to capital is essential for growth. Tech scale-ups need to be allowed the space to mature and realise their potential.
Across the world, tech companies struggle to compete for a small pool of specialists. Additionally, competition for the best and brightest minds is fierce. Without access to capital from VC firms and angel investors, most high-tech businesses wouldn't have the runway they need for success.
#3. R&D from universities in the UK
The UK has several prestigious institutions with first-class researchers from around the world. More importantly, universities and scale-ups share the common goal of innovation, and, additionally, they are a source of the excellent graduates required to help a business scale.
Researcher-start-up collaborations are on the rise. Additionally, universities have spun out some of the UK's most promising and innovative new businesses in recent years across various sectors, like VR, fintech, AI, and healthcare.
Access to cutting-edge research, investments, workspace, and networks facilitates growth and innovation. University commercialisation teams will continue to help new businesses hit their potential.
#4. Help from grants
Help from grants is another reason tech scale-ups are flourishing in the UK. There are plenty of government and private grants for cutting-edge businesses.
Support comes in different forms and targets both general and specialised businesses. UK start-ups can access tax relief for R&D, millions of pounds of seed money, and other excellent benefits.
#5. Government support
The UK government is hugely supportive of innovation. They aren't just focused on helping big tech businesses but also understand the importance of small challenger brands.
The UK government understands that attracting future global giants to these shores is a great way to drive high-quality employment and tax revenues. In response, they have implemented various excellent programs to tempt the best overseas entrepreneurs.
For example, the Global Entrepreneur Programme (GEP) aims to encourage overseas companies to come to the UK. It provides free training, mentorship, and networking opportunities to help non-UK-based businesses to reach the next level.
Finally, we can't forget the various tax deductibles provided to startups. Additionally, across the UK, there are 24 tax-free Enterprise Zones that offer tax relief for five years, up to £275,000.
London's start-up scene is ranked just behind Silicon Valley and New York. And it's no surprise. The capital is full of opportunities to help entrepreneurs turn their dreams into reality.
Incubators and accelerators offer scale-ups some of the best ways to gain a foothold. With free space, mentoring, and advice, promising companies can get the support to succeed.
Some of the most notable and influential incubators and accelerators are Level 39, Collider Accelerator, and TechStars London.
Several other notable programs were designed to help UK entrepreneurs alongside these enterprises. For example, the Tech2Great initiative provides free services, advice, and support for scale-ups, focusing on female founders and tech that can help solve world problems.
We're living in a golden age of UK innovation. The country, long considered the world's financial capital, has been producing world-leading tech scale-ups at an unprecedented rate in recent years.
The reason for this remarkable success is the confluence of factors, like access to capital, a high-quality workforce, and government support that encourages the growth of tech companies.
Tech scale-ups cannot ignore the UK as a potential base. The conditions are perfect for helping the best companies realise their potential in the UK and abroad.
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Alpesh Patel OBE