The government appears to be heavily committed to helping technology businesses, particularly start-ups, grow and thrive, and is putting real money into doing so. They have brought in a range of different types of financial support aimed to helping technology businesses, which they see as very much the future of innovative capitalism in the UK. With more traditional industries struggling to compete against countries like China, and the economy still in a very difficult place in general, it is hard to disagree. The technology sector in the UK is one of the few which is actively thriving in the current climate. In the area of East London now known as ‘tech city’, a diverse base of new technology companies is developing, helped by government support. Creative technology solutions are one area in which the UK can and does really excel. If you have or would like to start a technology business, what help can you get?
There are all sorts of grants which are aimed specifically at technology businesses. Research and development grants are offered specifically for businesses in the technology sectors (as well as for those in the science and engineering sectors). They are aimed at businesses who want to carry out original research and develop something new. Applications for these grants would need to prove that they have a market-worthy concept which is likely to succeed. Grants are also available for R&D through the EU. Specifically, the EU Framework Programme funds research in technology, among other areas. In some areas, technology business may also be able to apply for general business grants, such as the Regional Growth Fund. While not tech-specific, these grants are available to any business which will contribute to growth in depressed regions.
Grants tend to help businesses get off the ground, but what happens when they are already there, but just in need of a little nurturing? Business tax-breaks are available of 225% for research and development projects, which should help technology businesses in particular. Those investing in companies can also get tax-breaks. The Enterprise Investment Scheme is aimed at small, high-risk companies (which many technology businesses are by their nature). It provides tax relief on shares purchased in these companies.
Training and Knowledge Development
As well as helping business with hard cash, the government tries to help businesses meet their training needs and share knowledge with each other, through a range of programmes. The Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme helps business recruit experts in particular areas which a business sees as strategically important to them, and helps them meet the cost. It is also helping to create a network of technology and innovation centres which act as hubs for a particular skill or area of knowledge. They will allow technology businesses and universities to collaborate on research projects and share their knowledge for mutual benefit. There are also a number of training grants available, aimed at helping businesses train their staff in new technologies.
This article was written by Workbooks, a leading supplier of CRM software.