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In the loop: The UK proves its tech chops, Google’s massive diversity gap and Brexit cause business tensions

Written by Varsha Saraogi on Friday, 15 June 2018. Posted in Insight, Analysis

No matter if your teams wins the World Cup or not, the fact that the UK is not just leading Europe’s unicorn league but that it’s also introducing a new startup visa means there are plenty of reasons to celebrate

In the loop: The UK proves its tech chops, Google’s massive diversity gap and Brexit cause business tensions

The UK is leading the unicorn league

Britain is great at nurturing startups. If you need reminding of this fact, remember that unicorns are more common in the UK than anywhere else in Europe, according to new research conducted by Dealroom, the data analytics company, and Tech Nation, the organisation championing tech startups. 

Out of Europe’s 34 unicorns, the UK has produced 13. These have a combined value of $23bn, equal to 38% of the European total. This puts the UK ahead of Germany  and France, which have six and three scaleups valued over $1bn respectively. Given the nation has already spawned success stories like Deliveroo and Funding Circle, it’s hardly surprising that VC investment is also booming in the UK. Last year British startups raised $7.9bn compared to Germany’s $3.2bn and France‘s $2.8bn.

Keeping these numbers in mind, there’s no doubt old Blighty is still reigning supreme when it comes to startups.  

Brexit has made UK SMEs worry about talent

It’s hardly a secret SMEs worry about Brexit. Particularly, entrepreneurs are concerned about accessing tech skill and the cost of administration following the divorce, according to a study from SimplyBookMe, a booking platform. 

Having polled companies in 11 countries, researchers revealed that UK entrepreneurs were much less confident about the conscious uncoupling than those in the EU. Overall, 57% of respondents felt that their biggest challenge was that they had too little time and that they were doing everything themselves. This was double the 24% who thought hiring the right people were their biggest worry.

With a final deal between the EU and the UK still being unaccounted for, it’s safe to say that British entrepreneurs will remain worried about Brexit for some time yet.

Global entrepreneurs get a new gateway into the UK 

Entrepreneurialism is a global game. Fortunately, the government seems to have recognised this by making it easier for skilled business leaders to move to the UK. 

The government introduced a new startup visa during London Tech Week. While the previous immigration route only allowed foreign business leaders with a British degree to set up shop on these shores, the new one will require applicants to have acquired an endorsement from a university or approved business sponsor, including accelerators. The new startup visa will become available in spring 2019 and will replace the current graduate entrepreneur route. 

We can but welcome any initiative that expand the pool of talented entrepreneurs in Britain. 

Google disappoints on the diversity front

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, may have seemed like he was taking diversity seriously when he sacked James Damore after his now infamous anti-women memo went public. However, the tech titan’s latest annual diversity report suggests the company still have lots to do to boost its diversity.

For instance, only 25.5% of the company’s leadership were women and 74.5% were male. Globally, women now constitute 30.9% of Google’s employees, compared to 30.8% last year. Looking at different ethnicities among the US ranks, 53.1% of employees were white, 2.5% were black and 3.6% were latino. 

Although, Danielle Brown, VP and chief officer of diversity and inclusion ,was adamant that these figures will improve. “We are determined to change our workforce representation numbers, because they reflect the career prospects of real people,” she said. 

Admirable as these ambitions may be, Google clearly still has much more to do before becoming a diverse business.

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About the Author

Varsha Saraogi

Varsha Saraogi

As junior feature writer and a recent MA Journalism graduate, Varsha has joined the Elite team to fuel her passion. Along with being immersed in the money making sector and ranting about women’s rights, she will be hunting for news about everything business related. and burying her head in economic magazines. 

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