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Are you an entrepreneur in the UK? Consider yourself lucky!
A few days ago I was talking with a friend who lives in Latin America, discussing the differences between being an entrepreneur in the UK vs.Venezuela, where I am originally from. We discovered they are as vast as the ocean dividing the two continents!
One of the things I have admired the most about the UK has been the incentive towards setting up your own business, especially in regards to showing an innovative idea. Here is when government and private sector come together: government, eager to get new ideas, offering incentives to entrepreneurs and hedge funds on the private side, putting in money that will make them flourish along with the revenues that come with it.
I know many people would think ‘that’s a very simple way to look at this’, but my comparison may change your mind.
In Venezuela being an entrepreneur is a way of showing status: mainly young people who don’t need to support their families are capable of affording this path. It is basically a “luxury”. I call it a luxury, as the cost of providing to your family in real time as an employee, vs. taking the time to set up your not-yet-profitable business in a hyperinflationary country, can be the difference between earning a salary or starving to death. Being an entrepreneur in Venezuela is definitely a privilege for those with a certain amount of wealth already accrued.
On the other hand, that same middle-class Venezuelan entrepreneur in the U.K., with their unique idea, a clear plan of action with a defined purpose and target, may instead have a choice of who will have the privilege of investing in their idea, opening up a myriad of possibilities.
Now let’s go to the facts. According to an article published by Techworld* these are the 5 ways the UK government supports technology startups:
1) Funding: there are funding options through various sources
– The Government offers a scheme called Start-Up loans if you have a new business idea you can access mentoring, support services and up to £25,000 funding with a fixed rate per annum of 6%.
– Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board), it’s a government body, which holds funding competitions for businesses and research organisations. They determine which science and technology developments will drive future economic growth and accordingly provide funding. If you have an idea to improve health via digital innovation there’s funding available for up to £8 million.
– Through the government initiative Business is Great you can access valuable information on tax advice and protect your intellectual property.
– Tech London is a joint project between the Mayor of London, investor portal Gust and lead sponsor IBM. They offer tips on setting up your business in London from where to work, mentorship programmes and job boards.
3) Visas: via Tech Nation Visa. This is a very important one as it opens up opportunities to any non-EU non-British entrepreneur. Attention: you need to be FANTASTIC as it’s quite tough to be selected. It’s worth taking a look at this one if you’re confident about your idea — and before any changes are made once the UK leaves the EU.
4) Broadband: I really appreciate this one! Did you know the World Bank has targeted broadband Internet access as a tool for improving the economies of the Middle East and North Africa region? This is also the case for Latin America as backed up by interesting research from the Interamerican Development Bank. Broadband growth contributes to economic growth via making business processes more efficient, accelerating innovation with new consumer applications and services, and improving enterprise deployment efficiency with better access to labour, raw materials, and customers.
5) Mentoring: If you’re a geek like me but also an entrepreneur please don’t miss the opportunity to join this free — yes, FREE — programme called Digital Business Academy. It’s such a valuable tool which has proven to be highly efficient for its participants: over 60% of their alumni go on to start, join or grow a digital business. Not bad for a free tool and knowledge for life.
So, what are you waiting for? Stop complaining! If you have a great idea and you’re lucky enough to live in the UK count your blessings and crack on with your business idea.
*Scott Carey for Techworld: https://www.techworld.com/startups/5-ways-uk-government-supports-tech-startups-3652774/
Written by Adriana Caro
At the recent #AgileP event, we discussed the need for a two-way learning journey — involving Digital AND Procurement.more