Britain has been touted as a hub for tech investment, with companies big and small choosing to set up here.
At a recent roundtable event, Prime Minister Theresa May announced three global companies had pledged private investment into the UK, with deals expected to be worth some £2.3 billion to the UK economy. What’s more, a series of new government-funded initiatives would also be rolled out to help home-grown start-ups to challenge some of the industry’s biggest players.
Salesforce was by far the biggest name to pledge investment in the UK, and also offered much of the financial total. It announced plans to invest £1.9 billion in the UK and open a brand new data centre here by 2019. Mubadala and NTT also signed up, with the former launching a £300 million investment fund and the latter opening a £41 million office that would create 200 new jobs.
The government wasn’t just looking inward with its tech investment opportunities, though. Theresa May also revealed plans to open tech hubs in Brazil and South Africa, to develop skills, capability and business networks in key overseas markets. One anticipated consequence of this would be a growth in the number of foreign entrepreneurs considering Britain in their future plans.
It’s this look outward that appears to have disclosed Britain’s primary objective; namely to stay one step ahead of its nearest rivals when it comes to attracting future investment. Speaking to the BBC, Antony Walker, deputy chief executive at industry body Tech UK, said: “The new start-up visas are a sensible move to encourage those with good ideas to come to the UK.”
That said, Walker noted that many start-up founders had experienced difficulty in obtaining visas to bring themselves – and their businesses – to the UK. Therefore, he argued, the government should be looking at more than just the technology and the finances if they want to bring in the brightest and best tech minds for generations to come.