To have any chance of birthing UK tech-giants we need frictionless access to a large single market; the divergence of wealth and power is making this more unlikely. The US and China have a significant advantage over UK companies who have a plethora of barriers blocking access to talent, materials and customers.
We need significantly more investment into R&D and academic tech-transfer. It needs to be attractive for successful UK-entrepreneurs to reinvest their assets into high-growth UK startups, as opposed to looking overseas. To scale, start-ups need mutually beneficial relationships with Large Enterprises; shifting from restrictive vendor contracts to partnerships.
Daniel Hulme | CEO, Satalia
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Sustainable development is one of the most ambitious, all-encompassing goals that the international community has ever set for itself. Through a well designed procurement policy, the new government can ensure that society benefits from energy efficient equipment, infrastructure, as well as decent working conditions and fairly managed services.
Another opportunity is in IT. Data is now a new social good and governments will need to develop, and quickly master, a new core capability: data curation. Governments face a challenge to attract talent with core skills needed in the data age and develop open frameworks.
Leanne Kemp | Founder and CEO, Everledger
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If we are to keep successful UK scaleups domiciled in the UK, we need tax policies that incentivise venture capital risk and financial deployment, and that go beyond what is currently EIS tax relief.
The government now needs to think much bigger, encouraging these UK success stories to acquire rather than be acquired, to seek growth capital in the UK, not outside; and all to enable the uk to develop a large echo-system of profitable unicorn businesses, not just a list of smaller companies exited to an overseas buyer.
Paul Coggins | CEO, Adludio
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“Our biggest challenge is hiring engineers, so the number one thing the next Government can do is improving engineering training. The UK has fantastic universities and infrastructure in place, but we need a larger amount of students going into engineering, so it might be more marketing and better financial access than anything else.
Our crowdfunding investors benefited a lot from tax incentive schemes led by the government, such as the SEIS and EIS programs. We need them to remain in place, so people remain open to investing in risky new ventures.
Last but not least, we need all uncertainty gone from Brexit. That’s an obvious one.”
Viktor Nebehaj | Chief Marketing Officer & Co-Founder, Freetrade
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There is no doubt that machine learning and AI adoption are key for innovation and economic growth, but the UK needs to work harder to keep up with the rest of the world. The government could do more in terms of incentivising businesses to increase investment into tech research and adoption.
On the other hand, they need to understand when intervention makes sense. Tech changes things up fast, and regulation can quickly feel misguided and outdated. Overall, there needs to be a bigger focus on futureproofing the ecosystem through industry-government collaboration: prepare for disruption, upskill the workforce, increase diversity in tech, and improve data infrastructure.
Daniel Gilbert | CEO & Founder, Brainlabs
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The UK tech industry can only be competitive globally if we are part of the wider European tech ecosystem. If we’re to challenge the US and Far East, we need to need to continue to attract top European tech talent.
Since launching our AI start-up in Cambridge in 2016, we’ve built a talented team of over 27 nationalities. This diversity of thought, experience and cultural background has driven our innovation and been key to our success.
In UK tech, it is the norm for over half of staff to come from the EU. At this key stage in the country’s future, I hope our politicians will focus on policies that truly enable economic growth and helps the tech sector to grow.
Today, the UK suffers from a shortage of skills across all aspects of tech and simply doesn’t have the critical mass to be a global player on its own. As a CEO and founder, I would favour guaranteeing EU citizens’ future rights and continuing to allow free flow of talent between the UK and Europe. I believe that this will keep us competitive. We are a strong advocate of Europe creating standards that helps all European tech companies to be competitive, rather than having to manage different regulatory environments.
Vishal Chatrath | CEO & Co-Founder, PROWLER.io