So its not quite two months since Brexit and the press has been full of very British “gloom and doom” but is the reporting an accurate reflection of business confidence? It would appear so to some degree…
Results of a poll by techUK show a 23% fall in confidence following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union (EU) on the 23rd June 2016.
The survey of 200+ business leaders revealed 70% of tech companies are ‘positive’ about the UK tech sector’s potential for growth over the next two years,which is unfortunately down from 93% in March 2016.
Only 20% of responding tech companies were ‘very positive’, down from 52% in March.
Similarly, nearly half of respondents said the outcome of the EU referendum would have a negative impact on foreign direct investment (49%), capital investment (48%), and R&D spend in the UK (48%) over the next two years.
Our own conversations though have led us to believe that not all is lost. Thankfully. Our UKTI Global Entrepreneur Programme (GEP) clients, have remained positive about the UK with decisions to commercialise their technology from here based not on market access to the EU but on talent and supply chain. Axxonet, a recent Indian inward investment client has established a strategic HQ in Yorkshire and is commercialising digital health technologies. CEO Chetan Mukundan commented that “tariffs are a fact of life with regard to our products when we export and so are taken into account in our pricing policy, our growth strategy though is concerned with academic partnerships, supply chain and access to large healthcare markets, all of which we have identified in the UK”. Yorkshire has a large cluster of specialist medical device manufacturers and the Digital Health Enterprise Zone (DHEZ), a Government funded project which assists companies prove concept and to connect with the NHS and wider healthcare sector.
Since Brexit there have been many calls made by various parties including Julian David, CEO of techUK, for the tech and the digital economy to be placed at the heart of the UK Industrial Strategy: “Now is the time to develop a world-leading digital infrastructure, and make the UK the place to invest and grow.” We would argue that actually the UK is a great place for tech and digital entrepreneurs to start and scale their business from. Our clients move here because of our great IP laws, our entrepreneur-friendly tax regime and access to investment, which while it may have slowed a little, is still significant as illustrated by TechCity News’ TechUK Investment Tracker 2016