19 September 2016

I was disappointed to read Rory Cellan-Jones’ article today about the state of the British tech industry. Lawrence_Jones_final_web

Whilst the series examining Tech Talent and asking whether the UK can compete on the global technology industry is well overdue, I can’t help but question the tone of the article.

He says that everyone, everywhere, wants to be like Silicon Valley and can’t quite work out how to pull it off. For me, it is simple! Foreign businesses are able to come into the UK and find ways to take advantage of a rather lax tax system. So whilst it is really tough on UK entrepreneurs, there are too many ways for foreign business owners to take advantage of the British system and get head start over our home-grown firms.

On top of this, we hear that these big companies may have registered a business in Ireland or another country where tax is usually low, which enables companies like Google and Apple to only pay 1% tax. If you gave all British entrepreneurs the ability to create businesses at 1% tax and allowed every other penny to go back into their business, we’d be in an incredible place! We need to put pressure on the government not on the tech entrepreneurs.

There’s some extraordinary talent in the UK but, again, a lot of this gets snapped up by big tech companies who have deeper pockets because they don’t pay the tax we do! Until it’s a level playing field it will always be that way.

That being said, at UKFast we’re building a very fine tech business with bigger benefits – in my opinion – for our customers who want to host and take advantage of British data sovereignty. We’re launching servers and doing things that some of the US companies haven’t fathomed yet. And we’re not the only ones.

Manchester is thriving. There are so many startups and blooming digital and technology businesses but we’re often overlooked! Perhaps Rory and the BBC team should’ve come to UKFest [http://www.lawrencejones.eu/search-marketing/2016/09/18/making-memories-2/ ] over the weekend to see what we’re doing. There’s a revolution happening but the press are missing it.

Apple and Google are stealing the headlines. The BBC not so long ago, came in to UKFast because they wanted to film a cool office. Of course, we agreed and they came to film. However, they put the footage out there on TV and referred to Facebook and Google, whilst showing our office space! Because of this, people are automatically assuming that Facebook and Google are looking cool – our offices are cooler than Google’s in London Google’s in London but the press tend to focus only on the big names.

The British press has to get up and come to see us and other tech firms outside of London and away from the big international players. The press are fuelling their growth rather than that of British SMEs – they’re only talking about these few brands. Come out and see the amazing tech stuff that’s going on in Britain!

It’s a matter of time. It’s a revolution. You could argue that these big companies got there first, but the businesses that start out first aren’t necessarily the ones that win the race.

We, as a nation, have to start having a bit more pride – like the French, who buy French cars and eat French food.

It’s the small entrepreneur that’s keeping this country going!

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