Tech entrepreneurs are problem solvers and risk takers who are essential for the future growth of Europe’s economy. They throw some technology, some business model magic and a lot of financial and people resources at a problem to be solved, and hope that they can find a market and are able to scale what they produce to sell it around the world. If successful, they can be significant value creators for Europe.
In the current Brexit divorce proceedings, cities are fighting over the custody of these tech progeny, and are upping their game to show just how much they love them. In the Brit corner, London has come out fighting with the mightily proactive mayor Sadiq Khan going on the road to tell US tech investment decision-makers that #LondonIsOpen for business. In the other corner of the ring, Berlin has been squaring up to the UK in a bid to woo tech companies to the German capital.
This is going to be a battle of numbers: tech companies consume a lot of money and need a lot of diverse talent. London is claiming the big money stats with US venture capital investment into London post-Brexit (from June 23 to mid-September 2016) amounting to $426m, which dwarfs Berlin’s figure of $27m and that of other tech city contenders such as Dublin ($65m), Paris ($37m) and Stockholm ($16m).
So far, so good on the money flow, but another big statistic that London will have to address is the fact that one in three tech start-up workers in the UK comes from overseas – so it is essential that future UK immigration policies ensure this flow of skilled people continues. If the talent tap is turned off, the money supply will soon dry up too.
It is worth considering that this Brexit battling can only be a good thing for the tech companies, as governments on both sides of the tussle will be doing everything they can to make life as sweet as possible for entrepreneurs and their start-up endeavours.
Douglas Clark is director of Location Connections, consultants for economic development innovation. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org