What are the levers driving digital entrepreneurship in the UK?
Freed from the inertia and the default towards risk-aversion that is experienced by established companies, attitudes to change and ‘I can do’ approach has seen startups and scale ups rapidly making technological advances which are genuine market disruptors.
There is also the argument that a scarcity in resources drive creativity. “Often [constraint] leads to a specific desire to test much earlier in the process, as wasting either money or time in a startup can have significant consequences,” says Juliet Eccleston, Co-Founder of professional recommendation platform AnyGood?
The increased access to investment has also allowed startups and scale ups to see accelerated growth and allowing the business to dominate market-share rather than bootstrapping and working to make incremental advances.
This enables the ‘fail fast’ approach: fully investing in a concept, and going all-in on marketing spend; then, if it doesn’t pan out, moving on. Following this strategy, technological innovators have disrupted every sector there is – and transformation is continuing apace. The UK has a thriving digital economy, today, as well as access to both markets and talent. What’s more, there’s a plentiful supply of capital and expertise, from venture firms, accelerators and angel investors.
Indeed, all signs indicate that the UK is flourishing. The country has 5.7 million small businesses, with more than 1,000 reportedly starting up every day. Meanwhile, in 2017, UK startups/scaleups raised £2.99bn in VC funding, is more than the combined total invested in Germany, France, Sweden and the Netherlands by VC firms and London is ranked as the world’s third most prominent startup ecosystem, behind only Silicon Valley and New York.
“[Entrepreneurs can access] grants, tax credits, easy loans and equity funding,” says Neelendra Nath, startup advisor and mentor, and Founder and CEO of Innovitas. “SEIS/EIS makes investment in startups more lucrative to private angel investors. Which brings us to private money spread over angel networks and VCs – London has a very high number of such resources and now, crowdfunding and investor matching platforms are making it easier to connect entrepreneurs and investors from across the border.”
Brexit naturally poses a threat to the flow of people and ideas – but the UK’s language and geography are hardly going to be altered and, while the change may be traumatic, it’s hard to imagine the digital economy’s momentum being knocked too far off course.
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