The tech sector has never seemed more welcoming for would-be entrepreneurs, says Powa Technologies founder Dan Wagner
My key idea:
We must reclaim the nation’s reputation as a global leader in technological innovation. A return to growth must be met with support for entrepreneurship and enterprise – particularly across the digital technology sector. If the UK is to exceed its past glories, a renaissance of entrepreneurship is required. Innovators must be assured that, so long as they have the ideas, they’ll have the support to make it happen. A word of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs – the truth is that entrepreneurship takes hard work, sacrifice and investment.
The UK technology sector has found its feet again. Twenty-eight percent of UK tech companies now describe innovation as their major priority, knocking cost-cutting off the top spot. In the wake of global recession, where we had years of hedging bets and cutting costs, this year we’re seeing the best growth since before the downturn.
A return to growth brings a new sense of confidence and optimism. It brings a desire to innovate, to take risks and break new ground, instead of simply surviving another year. And the UK has a long and proud history of breaking new ground, from Alan Turing to Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web – yet we’ve fallen behind the curve. Bloomberg’s latest Global Innovation Index places the UK as the sixteenth greatest innovator, far behind the top spots held by South Korea, Sweden and the United States. If the UK is to reclaim – or even exceed – its past glories, a renaissance of entrepreneurship is required. Innovators must be assured that, so long as they have the ideas, they’ll have the support to make it happen.
Creating killer apps
And right now the tech sector has never seemed more welcoming for young, would-be entrepreneurs. The digital industry (and mobile app development in particular) is enticing. It implies that the critical acclaim and profit that comes with a ‘killer app’ is never far away. Success stories like WhatsApp’s purchase by Facebook and the $7.6bn valuation of King Digital Entertainment (maker of Candy Crush Saga), have made hopeful tech entrepreneurs salivate.
Yet reality can be very different. Entrepreneurs must work hard and persist for many years if they hope to succeed. Selling a killer app for a fortune before retiring to a life of leisure is mostly fantasy. The truth is that entrepreneurship takes hard work, sacrifice and investment – and it could be many years before your big idea begins to pay back big.
That’s why it’s so vital the UK does what it can to support innovators, whatever their chosen field, and help them see their innovations through to fruition – rather than falling at the first hurdle as is all too common. Initiatives like the Enterprising Britain Awards and Young Enterprise do much to foster this innovation. The Awards involves a nationwide competition to find the most enterprising area in the UK, while Young Enterprise encourages entrepreneurship in education. These are just two examples of support the UK offers to ambitious and enterprising people.
The road ahead Economists have long recognised that the primary driver for economic growth in today’s knowledge-based economy is not capital accumulation, but innovative capacity and the flexibility to adapt to rapidly shifting market dynamics. Investing in the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs and business leaders will be crucial to helping the UK technological sector sustain the shoots of new growth.
This is an excerpt from LondonLovesBusiness.com’s Securing Britain’s Ambition - read the full publication online now