Stephen Coleman, the CEO and co-founder of Edinburgh’s tech hub CodeBase, will join Microsoft UK Chief Executive Cindy Rose on an industry-led study into tech competitiveness in the UK.
Suzanne Ashman from LocalGlobe and Avid Larizadeh Duggan from Kobalt will also make up a panel appointed by the UK Government to ‘identify opportunities and support for digital businesses to ensure the UK remains the most attractive place to build a tech business’.
The study, which reports later this year, will attempt to address concerns over future immigration policy, where the sector has expressed a desire to keep Britain open to people with the right tech skills to join a growing workforce.
The study was announced at London Tech Week as part of a range of measures, including £1.2bn of investment, to ensure the UK remains the largest tech hub in Europe.
Other measures included:
- £153 million government funding, with an additional £205 million pledged by industry, to unlock the potential of quantum technologies, including accelerated drug development from quantum computing;
- 2,500 places available for the first time for AI and data conversion courses starting next year, to equip tech-driven businesses and people across the country with the skills they need. This includes 1,000 government-funded scholarships to open up opportunities for people from all backgrounds.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “I want to make sure Britain stays the best place in Europe to launch and grow a start-up. So I am delighted that leading figures from the tech community – including Cindy Rose – have agreed to undertake an industry-led Tech Competitiveness Study, reporting later this year. It will consider how to build on the UK’s competitive advantage, and what we can do better.
She said: “I’ve heard from businesses that we should set up a major new hub, or series of hubs, for tech – one-stop shops where international investors and UK businesses can connect effectively with the sector. And the study will look closely at the case for this too. On talent, we want the brightest and the best to come to the UK. Our future immigration policy will clearly be at the heart of this.”
She added: “Already we are one of the best places in the world to start and grow a tech business. British Tech is growing over one and a half times faster than the rest of the economy, adding more than one hundred and thirty billion pounds to our economy every year.”
Prime Minister will host a roundtable for leading tech companies, including Microsoft UK, Google and Monzo, where they will discuss opportunities to fully harness the power of technology to enhance competitiveness, boost the economy and tackle societal challenges.
This comes as thirteen businesses choose to invest in the UK as the top destination for tech innovation and talent. These include plans for a £1 billion investment by VMware over the next five years; a £12 million investment by Mastek in a new digital skills programme for graduates in Leeds; and a £150 million investment in a new data centre by Markley Group which will create 200 jobs.