By Chris Cairns, partner at Alliotts Chartered Accountants
There are currently thousands of businesses specialising in technology based in the UK with a particular cluster around London and the South East. The signs are that this market is growing rapidly especially since the last general election. Those that are based here know that there are many advantages to being part of the exciting hub of tech businesses based across the country.
It has been fantastic to see such an upswing in inward investment from technology companies looking to invest in the region particularly since the election. Conversations with funders and other professionals reveals that my view is shared by others in the industry. The general consensus is one of optimism and growth alongside an easing in funding from banks, Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors, which is great news for UK Plc.
As a technology and corporate finance specialist I recently advised on a deal for an inbound technology company who was looking to set up and equity fund raise in the UK. The purpose was to then use the UK company as a springboard in to the wider European market and then on to global markets such as the USA. The advice I gave them is the same as I would give to any business in the sector looking to set up business here. The advantages are wide ranging and include a number of incentives for technology companies:
• There is a very beneficial research and development tax credit system allowing even companies that are not making a profit to receive money back from the UK Government against their expenditure on R&D activities;
• There is a very large skilled work force particularly in the South East, as a result of the high number of Universities in the area;
• A number of technology hubs have a real penetration into specialist sectors, e.g. Guildford and Harwell (near Didcot) for the Space Sector.
It is often a surprise to overseas companies that a lot of these technology clusters are outside London so they are not committed to paying London prices for office space.
All in I believe that business is great in the UK and that the outlook is even better as more and more overseas businesses see the advantages the country has to offer and decide to invest in it as the place they most want to be located.