When we attend TechCrunch our write-ups are usually about the latest innovations making waves and on which tech startups have got us hyped up. This time round we decided to focus on TechCrunch’s main topic of conversation, Britain’s post-Brexit tech future.
Since former PM, David Cameron, announced Britain’s exit from the EU on 24th June 2016, there has been much discussion about the effects it would have on the UK’s technology sector. Considered to be a leading force in technology and innovation, it is imperative that Britain keeps an open door policy on recommendations from UK tech founders. These are the people that TechCrunch has partnered up with so together they can tackle 10 key areas that they have found need to be addressed in the Brexit negotiations.
These are areas borne on the back of TechCrunch’s London Brexit Sentiment Survey which highlighted key points that include a huge concern amongst UK tech founders about access to EU talent post-Brexit and the lack of confidence in the UK government over its skilled immigration policy. TechCrunch and a select group of entrepreneurs and VC’s have directed their proposal on what the British technology sector needs to the Rt Hon Theresa May MP. In it they stress that it is imperative that the government recognizes “the need to attract and retain the very best talent globally”.
“It is important for all the UK’s business sectors that the tech sector continues to flourish.”
“We must ensure that Brexit does not damage the tech sector by making it difficult for skilled tech workers from strong tech nations.”
So what could this mean? Is Britain equipped to survive, firms like MBJ exiting stage left? Well, in order to tackle this issue, it has been proposed that we need to make sure that Brexit does not damage the tech sector by making it difficult for skilled tech workers from strong tech nations such as the USA, India, the Commonwealth, Eastern Europe to obtain the required visas. They believe that our current situation can be preserved by introducing a “STEM Passport”. If approved by the government, it will allow the UK to recruit the best skills and entrepreneurial talent across Europe with minimal barriers. It will also protect existing migrant workers who were already part of Britain’s tech industry.
In support of their proposal, they referred to the Balderton research which has listed Britain as the No.1 destination for inbound tech talent. So therefore it would make sense to give STEM graduates from other leading universities an instant qualifying visa to live and work in the UK.
“By harnessing the power of technology, students can get access to coding, data, cyber security and entrepreneurial skills”.
In their proposal to the Rt Hon Theresa May MP, the tech founders also addressed education. They stated that schools, colleges and universities are the most dynamic and innovative place for technology to evolve. By harnessing the power of technology, students can get access to coding, data, cyber security and entrepreneurial skills.
Other areas of interest that were put up for discussion include business incentives, diversity, single market access and international policy. The topic of conversation that stood out for us was that of market stimulants. We thought it was great that they brought up regulatory arbitrage on matters such as blockchain and AI. We have written about blockchain before and the beneficial impact it is going to have on the fashion industry. AI for us is a point of interest and we agree with their argument that the UK government needs to support the R&D fund for industries that focus on artificial intelligence, robotics and medtech/big data.
On Brexit: “Tech will not only benefit the privileged few,but the whole country”.
On their concerns we feel that they are not asking too much. The points that they have brought forward will, in the long run, not only “benefit the privileged few but the whole country”. What is great is that their ‘Tech Britain Is Open’ campaign complements the Mayor of London’s current efforts with his own ‘London Is Open’. We are confident that both campaigns will put the technology sector on the agenda. In my humble opinion, we need an open conversation that will stop the majority of people viewing Brexit as judge, jury and executioner of the tech industry . Having gone through their proposal with a fine tooth comb, I do think that Britain could end up owing its future growth to the vibrant tech sector. So it is on this note that we, at FashNerd, wait with bated breath for a response from Rt Hon Theresa May MP, so keep us posted TechCrunch.