The UK’s Lone Star trade pact will boost London’s tech foundation

When one imagines London and its US counterpart, we traditionally draw comparisons to New York’s financial district, the creative hub of Hollywood, or the policymakers of Washington DC. Yet one state often gets overlooked as a key partner to London; Texas

The UK’s Lone Star trade pact will boost London’s tech foundation

The UK and Texas, the United States’ second-largest state, are connected by their ambitions to encourage entrepreneurship and foster growth. We are Texas’ ninth-largest trading partner and eighth-largest international goods export market, with total trade in goods worth £14.7 billion in 2023. Much like the UK, the state is home to multiple leading technology companies, such as Dell, Hewlett Packard and Oracle. It is now home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other state. Meanwhile, London is Europe’s largest tech hub, with UK capital’s tech firms raising an impressive $12.9B in venture capital (VC) investment in 2023.

These are important parallels and were exemplified last week, when the UK and Texas signed a trade pact to boost investment and trade cooperation. Aimed at making business practices between the two more efficient, the agreement will significantly benefit burgeoning sectors of the UK economy including life sciences, energy and professional services. It means that UK firms will now have access to more states, with a total GDP of £5.3 trillion, equivalent to a quarter of the US economy. This can only be a good thing.

Texas and the UK share a diverse economy and both are major tech hubs, determined to keep up the pace. Texas is set to welcome SpaceX after recently announcing relocation, while in 2024 the UK is the world’s third trillion-dollar tech economy, with London ranking joint second when looking at the best startup ecosystems to grow a successful tech company.

Austin in particular has the same creative spirit as London, a central hub filled with entrepreneurs who want to drive change. That’s why in 2019, to further strengthen the link between the two cities, we announced a partnership with the Austin-based entrepreneur campus Capital Factory. As we both focus on spotlighting advanced startups and SMEs, it has allowed us to further improve that connection between them, their corporate partners and the local communities.

This March saw Austin’s celebrated annual SXSW conference. Since 1987, it has enabled creatives and techies alike to meet and discuss the future of our work. Once focused primarily on the US film industry, it now attracts a global audience from all sectors. In particular, it has shifted its attention to the role technology currently plays and will play in our respective fields.

Austin is a city that encourages creativity and freedom. By bringing together experts from all over the world, SXSW is an opportunity to grasp what the current trends are, and how they will shape our business moving forward. One of the events; ‘London Calling’ exemplified this best. Co-hosted by Here East and London & Partners, it brought together innovative business leaders and investors from both sides of the pond to understand where the world of technology is heading in the next five to ten years, and what the focus should be. The recent trade deal is a great starting point, and there is the opportunity to go even further.

To further improve our transatlantic trade partnership, we must find a way to encourage greater collaboration between the innovative and disruptive technology companies that both countries are home to, particularly in the realm of Artificial Intelligence. The government must look for ways to springboard companies on both sides of the pond. The UK’s AI Safety Summit back in November was only the beginning, and as the EU looks to prop up their own AI startups, we must think outside of the box to help them further succeed. One way they can do this is to establish a government department to examine which industries will be impacted by the rapid tech cycle and explore ways to train people to adapt to these evolving industries.

The Prime Minister said that “everything is bigger in Texas” and that now includes this new trade relationship. The pact serves to cement a partnership that has been felt for decades by businesses. A shared feeling of excitement and hunger for growth, change, and innovation. That attitude is exactly what will give London the boost to seek out new business investment, for us and our American counterparts.

Gavin Poole
Gavin Poole

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