Facebook and Google suggest how UK businesses can prosper post-Brexit

Facebook and Google executives at #CBI2016 recommend disruption, innovation, staying nimble and providing employees with access to the information they need to succeed.

CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn with Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook's VP EMEA at #CBI2016

Source: CBI via Creative Commons. Photo of CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn with Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook's VP EMEA at #CBI2016.

CBI's recently released innovation survey shows that 7 in 10 companies plan to invest the same or more in innovation following Brexit. At the CBI annual conference 2016, held in late November, executives from Facebook and Google identified important trends that will help British business cope with the structural changes that will occur when Article 50 is triggered.

Nicola Mendelsohn of Facebook advises firms to be agile

Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook's VP EMEA, announced that Facebook is will be hiring 500 new members of staff in its UK headquarters. She said, “We have 1,000 people working in our offices in London, but we’re going to continue to invest and we’re going to increase our head count by 50% in the next year, so we will have 1,500 people here in the UK.  If you’re looking for a job - we’re hiring."

Watch Nicola Mendelsohn's keynote address at the 2016 CBI annual conference 

Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed the news, noting that Facebook's continued investment in the Great Britain mirrored other high-tech giants who consider the UK "a good place to do business".Lady Mendelsohn said that technology in the UK was "a British success story" and advised big business to try to be as agile, fast moving, able to disrupt the norm and pivot in the same way as smaller firms.  She also encouraged firms to give their staff greater access to information to help them make better decisions as this will empower them to have a greater impact.
Read more:

Matt Brittin of Google UK on key business trends

Matt Brittin, President, EMEA Business Operations, Google UK, identified three key trends to help UK business flourish despite the structural changes that will occur post-Brexit.
Matt Brittin, President, EMEA Business & Operations, Google Uk
The trends are:
  • Getting connected. By 2020 the number of people with internet connected devices will double, meaning "a farmer in Kenya can have access to the same information as a fund manager in Canary Wharf".
  • Strength in innovation, especially computing. Like Lady Mendelsohn, Brittin highlighted the UK's history of innovation. He noted, "Right now the UK is leading on machine learning and artificial intelligence. For Google one advantage of this has been leaps forward in the functionality and accuracy of their Translate service."
  • Britain's great culture and creativity - for example, Google is partnering with museums to digitise their artefacts so that they can be explored digitally.
He also highlighted the role Google will play in making technology accessible to young people and small businesses. He committed to making five hours of digital skills training available to every person in the UK via Google's Digital Garage