We attended an excellent breakfast panel debate today, hosted by Like Minds, that brought together some of London’s most connected individuals to debate the impact Brexit was having and would continue to have on our businesses and our economy as a whole.
The panel consisted of:
Russ Shaw, Founder, Tech London Advocates
Janet Coyle, Principal Adviser, London & Partners
Bindi Karia, Ex Silicon Valley Bank, Entrepreneur
Moderated by Minter Dial, European Entrepreneur
Here were our top 6 takeouts from the session:
Brexit leaves a huge funding gap for infrastructure and innovation projects
The EU grants will soon dry up completely, however, the consensus was very much that this void would be filled elsewhere. There is a huge amount of infrastructure and human expertise set up to deliver in the UK and these projects will have to look to other commercial organisations to be funded. India, China and USA were cited as immediate places to seek remedy for this issue. #londonisopen and looking for support already.
SEIS and EIS scheme amplification
SEIS and EIS schemes have been a huge success in stimulating investment and economic growth. These schemes are not available in many other countries in Europe and are seen as an immediately implementable solution to stimulate innovation. Much can be done to amplify these schemes, especially if interest rates are going to remain low.
Freedom of movement is a concern
Russ Shaw is advising his network not to build freedom of movement into long term business plans, however, there are already specialist visas being discussed which would ease this issue. Some believed this will be a mute point. However, with 1 in 5 tech jobs being filled by someone from the EU and 1 in 3 from a non-UK national movement of skilled people is key to keeping the skilled workforce advantage the UK has built.
Will Brexit happen at all?
This question is still up for debate. What is agreed is that uncertainty is unhelpful and this refforendum has caused a seismic change in the status quo. Whether Brexit happens or not, we the UK will be more nimble in dictating the way it conducts business with the world and that can only leave us in a better place in the long term.
How has the referendum affected trading?
The immediate reassuring statistic was that FTSE 100 value was back up to the levels before Brexit, however, the rebuttal was that those companies are made up of many multinationals who can give a false picture, you need to extend your view to FTSE 250 to get a real view, that index is also back up to pre-brexit levels. The takeout here is to carry on and not believe the binary good/bad hype in the press.
Once we leave the EU we will have access to much more opportunity
The UK has always been an entrepreneurial nation looking for opportunities to trade with the world. By leaving, we allow ourselves to be agile in our approach to engage. One specific example is the ability to offer export tax credits to stimulate UK exports (these would function in much the same was as R&D tax credits) membership to the EU currently restricts the UK’s ability to do this.
The UK is second only to the US to start and rapidly grown a technology based business and that should stand to us.
The last question / statement of the day really resonated. It went along the lines of “Why are we even talking of the UK not leaving the EU, why are we looking at, or even discussing, the issues this throws up. We have made this decision and now need to focus on the mind-bending number of opportunities this change offers each and every one of us. Lets get to it.”