The UK ranks as the sixth-strongest startup ecosystem in the world. The Government has initiated many funding routes in the past to help young IT companies make it to the limelight.
It has also taken proactive steps to increase the success of UK startups, while fostering an ecosystem that is conductive to innovation.
But is it enough? UK startups and entrepreneurs argue that it isn’t.
Is the British Government doing enough to help IT Startups?
As of late 2019, over 250 British entrepreneurs signed an open letter, appealing to the next government to roll out multiple reforms that would help the nation’s startup sector.
Dubbed the Startup Manifesto, it called for reforms within the visa system in order to help startups attract the best talent from around the world, without having to deal with all the unnecessary bureaucratic red tape.
The letter also urged the future government to further streamline pension regulations and tax reliefs to help startups acquire more early-business funding.
It went on to say that the above policies would work very well in the favour of startups – but more importantly – they would work to boost the country’s economy because British entrepreneurs can support the entire economy, if and when they get the right level of support from the government.
So, is the British government doing enough to help IT startups at the moment? Apparently not because the open letter has termed the current visa system “unfit for purpose”, further elaborating that it acted as a serious barrier to startup growth in the UK.
Clearly, the government should be doing much, much more to facilitate IT startups in the UK – but it isn’t.
Why the Government may not be doing enough
Access to finance is a major factor when it comes to starting a new IT company. The manifesto appealed to the government to come up with a new more “coherent” regional startup strategy – one which would allow clearly outlined contribution pension schemes to invest in new startups, and also to do away with delays in the current tax relief systems. It also stated that the upcoming tech regulation should not erect new barriers to entry for UK startups.
The UK government and startups are clearly not on the same page because the latter are now being forced to consider relocation as an option as immigration to Britain continues to drop.
The country has lost more overseas talent in February 2018 than it gained, with the highest drop being in London.
The British Government has always been praised for its efforts when it comes to supporting startups – however, over the years, startup founders have now been receiving better offers from other countries, which is, to a great degree, responsible for the talent shortage in the UK.
All in all, the government needs to be a lot more involved and a lack of involvement perhaps stems from unawareness to some extent – many ministers were ‘blown away’ by a DCMS report that came out 2-3 years ago which stated that the video games industry significantly contributed to the economy.