In the loop: Supporting startups and bridging a digital divide

This week we look at how Silicon Valley is adapting to Donald Trump’s presidency, learn how SMEs could bring another £20.2bn to the economy and delve into new research about female confidence

In the loop: Supporting startups and bridging a digital divide

Oracle’s new Bristol accelerator

From VCs investing record sums into UK tech startups to several new accelerators opening in 2016, it certainly seems as if people are stepping up to support British tech talent. The latest vote of confidence has come from Oracle, the cloud computing company, which has announced the opening of a new accelerator this week in partnership with the University of Bristol and SETsquared, the university incubator.

By joining forces, the trio aims to support high-growth companies in Bristol through mentoring, workshops and giving startups the chance to tap into a vast global network. Commenting on the accelerator, Reggie Bradford, senior vice president of product development at Oracle, said: “Oracle understands that startups are at the heart of innovation, and through this program we aim to give startups access to extensive resources and support when they need it most.”

We can only agree and wish the new accelerator and its startups the best of luck.

Silicon Valley struggles to deal with Trump

From his aids introducing us to phrases like “alternative facts” to reported plans to ban refugees from Muslim countries entering the US, it’s safe to say that the first week of Donald Trump’s presidency has been interesting. And now it seems as if Silicon Valley has been drawn into the controversy.

Protestors gathered outside the office of Uber, the ride-sharing company, after it was revealed that its CEO Travis Kalanick had been named one of the 19 tech leaders who would advise the president. Elsewhere, Elon Musk, CEO and co-founder of Tesla, the car manufacturer, came under fire after stating that “Rex Tillerson has the potential to be an excellent [secretary of state].”

This highlights the difficulties entrepreneurs living in world’s tech capital have when it comes to knowing how to deal with their new commander in-chief, a man who 146 tech leaders have previously called a “disaster for innovation”.

The upcoming four years are certainly set to be eventful to say the least.

A lack of digital know-how is holding UK SMEs back

The fourth industrial revolution is upon us. Advances in technology and biology have blurred the lines between man and machine. And while this has led to great opportunities  startups risk falling behind if their people don’t have the right skills.

Now, new research from eBay, the ecommerce company, suggests that SMEs failing to upskill employees to meet the challenges of our brave new world could cost the UK economy £20.2bn each year. The company, along with other tech giants like Google and Facebook, has pledged to offer a range of initiatives like training and new partnerships to encourage one million SMEs to become more digitally engaged in 2017.

That’s certainly a movement we can get behind.

When women stop believing in themselves

You only have to hear about Love Home Swap’s Debbie Wosskow, Snact’s Ilana Taub and Unruly’s Sarah Wood to understand the caliber of talent in this country So it’s disheartening to hear that many girls stop believing in their own abilities from the age of six.

According to a new study published in the journal Science, girls and boys at the age of five are equally likely to believe that smart people have the same gender as them. However, just one year later, the girls are between 20% and 30% less likely to believe that members of their gender are clever. They researchers also found that by the age of six, girls are less likely to want to play games for “really, really smart children” but are just as interested as boys in playing games for “children who try really, really hard”.

This is the latest in a string of studies demonstrating how pivotal it is to ensure young women believe in themselves from an early age. Seeing how this could enable them to pursue careers in entrepreneurship, here’s hoping we see more initiatives along those lines in the future.

Eric Johansson
Eric Johansson

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