UK tech start-ups surged again in 2018

The number of tech start-ups increased in 2018 coinciding with an announcement by Amazon to offer over 1000 apprenticeships under a new training scheme.

Tech startup team
The number of tech companies incorporated in the UK increased by 14 per cent during 2018, according to new analysis.

Increase in the number of software and programming businesses across UK

The study by audit, tax and consulting firm RSM showed there were 11,864 software development and programming businesses incorporated across the country last year, up from 10,394 companies in 2017.Details of the analysis coincided with an announcement from Amazon of the creation of more than 1,000 tech apprenticeships in Britain over the next two years.The RSM study, based on an analysis of data registered at Companies House, showed London had recorded the highest number of annual incorporations at 4,752 (up 14 per cent), followed by the South East with 1,398, representing a two per cent rise.But it was NW England that recorded the biggest percentage increase: up 48 per cent to 1,079 incorporations. In fact, tech company incorporations rose across every UK region with the exception of NE England and Scotland.David Blacher, head of RSM’s technology, media and telecoms team, said, “Given the current economic uncertainty, it’s fantastic to see that tech start-ups have continued their upward trajectory. While the rate of increase didn’t match 2017 when we saw a 60 per cent jump, the numbers show that entrepreneurs are continuing to innovate and venture capital, private equity and traditional funders are still lining up to commit funds to the right projects.

London and South East dominate in addition to increasing business activity in North West

“London and the South East still dominate, but we are also seeing encouraging signs of increased activity across the regions, particularly in the North West. Tax incentives such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme, R&D tax credits, video games tax relief and the Patent Box regime are all playing their part in helping to fuel this growth."Meanwhile, Amazon said its apprenticeships scheme was aimed at aimed at producing specialists to work across the companies' UK sites, including the head office and development centres in Edinburgh, Cambridge and London.Nine programmes, lasting between 13 months and four years will be offered, ranging from IT, safety and human resources to software engineering, robotics, leadership and technology.More than 90 new Amazon bachelor's and master's degree-level apprentices will also be available over the next two years as part of the programme, focused on software development engineering, senior leadership and automation with both in-work and in-classroom training.

Amazon scheme to train over 1000 apprentices

Doug Gurr, Amazon UK country manager, said, "We want to give people opportunities to succeed in the digital age, regardless of their background. Our fully-funded apprenticeship programme, from entry level through to degree level, will provide an exciting path to becoming Amazon's future team leaders, engineers and innovation drivers."Minister for Digital Margot James said, "It is great to see global tech giants, like Amazon, continue to invest in the UK and create high-skilled jobs for the next generation. Our booming digital sector is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country and this is a vote of confidence in our world-leading skills in tech innovation."A separate report this week revealed a sharp divide between how important SMEs consider new technology is to their futures and how much they actually invest in it.The report, Collaborate UK - CitySprint’s sixth annual survey of more than 1,000 SME executives - found that while 79 per cent regarded investing in technological innovation as important, ten per cent had not invested in any new technology last year.Patrick Gallagher, CitySprint Group CEO said, “Business owners know that innovation drives growth, but testing and adopting the latest tech is expensive and time consuming, and without more support small businesses struggle to keep up with technologies that can help them stay ahead."
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