Why is there no British “Google”?

Filed under: Innovation,Policy — lenand @ 10:13 am
Tags: , ,

James Clark, an MBA from the Cass Business school, reported his research to the Conservative Technology Forum earlier this week. It was well researched, producing evidence, not just anecdote. First of all he smoked out two red herrings

  1.  British culture is unsuited to entrepreneurs.
  2.  Shortage of money for start-ups.

By looking at a the historical background of start-ups in the USA the was able to identify four drivers that we don’t get right in the UK. Not only that, he gave some recommendations for policy consideration.

  1. Culture:  Some aspects of our culture can act as “inhibitors”.  Policy should focus on enhancing cultural “activators”
  2.  Knowledge and Experience: Not enough of the “right” kind of knowledge.  Policy should utilise local resources (people and industrial) whilst reducing barriers to importing talent
  3. Finance: Financing gaps at crucial growth stages. Policy should target funding gaps and incentivise investment, but not crowd out private activity
  4. Networks: Networks are stratified and information is poorly distributed Policy should target basic levels of information sharing and create “shared spaces” for start-ups.

The probing questions after the presentation were answered with great authority. Quarkside raised the issue of the difficulties of innovative SMEs  getting close to any procurement action in central government. The culture is wrong. But a noble Lord promised to take up the issue at ministerial levels. Let’s see how it progresses.  Maybe Liam Maxwell, supremo for ICT Innovation in the Cabinet Office, can make a difference.

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