Business Directory

ICT INVESTMENT IN THE UK

Clive Lewis, Head of Enterprise for the ICAEW, highlights how the UK supports inward investment from the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.

Bridgewater Place at Sunset. Image shot 2011. Exact date unknown.

Tech entrepreneur hubs have been earmarked for Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield to expand the existing digital clusters in these cities

Why is the UK a good place to invest?
Businesses considering investing in the UK usually cite the UK’s transparent and fair legal systems, the English language and its good skills base as reasons for investing. In addition, the Corporation Tax rate at 20% is the lowest in the European Union.

Why should Information and Communications Technology (ICT) businesses invest in the UK?
The UK ICT sector is booming. There are over 200,000 ICT companies in the UK with a turnover approaching £200 billion. London has a world famous technology cluster known as Tech City or Silicon Roundabout, which ranks behind San Francisco and New York City as the world’s largest technology start-up cluster.

The UK government are seeking to emulate the success of Tech City in other parts of the UK. The 2015 budget included an announcement of government funding for three more cities – Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield – to develop tech entrepreneur hubs to expand the existing digital clusters in these cities.

Another reason for the booming UK ICT sector is the UK Government’s Digital Strategy, which aims to transform the way government provides services. Every government department has their own digital strategy to improve their services and reduce costs.

UK businesses are heavily engaged in cloud computing and cyber security
The UK cloud computing market is predicted to reach £6.1 billion by 2015 and offers big investment opportunities for companies in the ICT sector.

18% of UK small and medium enterprises (SMEs) use cloud and a further 30% plan to use them in the next 12 months. 81% of established cloud users in the UK plan to increase cloud usage over the next two years.

Almost all software companies in the UK are using cloud. Opportunities exist in both the public and private sector for companies offering cloud or linked services.

Secure networks are important for the security of the UK and other countries. The UK is a leader in providing secure communications and offers companies opportunities in a number of areas including in cyber security, a market worth about £2.8 billion a year as more people start using mobile devices for mobile commerce (m-commerce).

Help from the UK Government
UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is a government agency which assists non-UK business to set-up in the UK. Its Global Entrepreneur Programme (GEP) helps overseas entrepreneurs and early stage technology businesses or start-ups that want to relocate their business to the UK. The programme has so far helped to relocate 340 businesses to the UK as well as raised over £1 billion of private investment for companies. UKTI support is generally free.

To qualify for GEP support, you must be an overseas based entrepreneur or technology business and looking to establish your global business headquarters in the UK.

Endorsement for an entrepreneur visa
Businesses which have high growth potential can apply for an Entrepreneur visa to come to the UK. To do this, they need to have received funding of at least £50,000 from an approved organisation.

OTHER SOURCES OF HELP FINANCE
The UK has a variety of different types of finance relevant to start-up technology businesses. To find out more, you can read the ICAEW Business Finance Guide

ICAEW BUSINESS ADVICE SERVICE
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) is the largest accountancy professional body in the UK. Its firms advise 1.5 million UK businesses. Its UK firms have 4,000 offices offering a free advice session under a scheme called the Business Advice Service (BAS). To find a BAS firm, go to www.businessadviceservice.com

CONTACT:
Clive Lewis, Head of Enterprise for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
www.icaew.com