I was pleased to hear the organiser of CES, Gary Shapiro, note that startups do not enjoy the same level of support from UK government compared to competitors in other countries.
Gary cited France, Israel and the Netherlands. It’s nice to be backed up. In fact, we recently exhibited at the Cite des Sciences food festival, thanks to an invitation from the French government.
We have built Smarter from scratch, starting up in 2013. It’s self-funded, in profit and constantly innovating. Our products intend to make life easier – saving time, effort, energy, money and now, with our FridgeCam, reduce food waste.
We are free market champions and believe in survival of the fittest, so it’s not financial support that we would look for or even need, but a better business environment and infrastructure. This is where government can lead the way.
Last February, the government consulted on its digital strategy. Every business is now a digital one, whether they use technology to make products and services or not. All businesses benefit and need to continue to do so from the opportunities that technology brings be it through the basics of a working internet connection, a fantastic website or recruiting the tech stars of now and the future. But we have seen no progress yet on the strategy and it’s not good enough.
We now find ourselves in hugely uncertain times following the Brexit vote. Whilst business always continues, we supply to the EU, we employ EU nationals and we know that we are not alone in our concerns that the negotiations to exit the EU have not progressed. There appears to be a lot of petty ‘tit-or-tat’ rows amongst politicians and this will only further hamper economic growth.
From the Smarter perspective, we would like to see more favourable conditions for startups to scale up, better liaison between large multinationals and fast-growth startups that government can foster and also a focus on recruiting and maintaining talent and keeping successful businesses in the UK.
Forecasting the needs of the future economy and what sort of talent may be required, what our economy could look like and how to support further growth and innovation are absolutely what the government should provide.
We would be happy to speak to government officials and ministers about how to improve growth and focus to ensure that the UK is an attractive place to start and grow businesses. We want to the UK to be at the forefront of startup growth!