Brexit and the Future of the UK Digital Economy

Brexit and the Future of the UK Digital Economy

Like millions of business people around the globe, I’ve been following the new historical turning point when Britain decided to leave the EU. Many were anxious to understand the situation and its implications on several socio-economical factors in the British lands. The only certain thing about the situation is the demonstrated frustration of young generation and the uncertainty that made the future unclear.

On the personal level, I was interested in learning how such political decision will impact the UK digital economy, being a resident of one of the most vibrant digital economies in the world – the Region of Waterloo.

In crafting business strategies, we – business strategists – perform PEST analysis. In the analysis, we scrutinize the political, economic, social and technological factors. We totally understand the importance of having a stable political scene to encourage and champion entrepreneurship in business in general and in technology in particular.

The analysis of the UK markets before Brexit was so promising with a record-breaking of more than 500,000 new ventures in 2015 and the majority of those company were tech companies. The Government had exerted tremendous efforts in supporting entrepreneurship by injecting investments in infrastructure, establishing several initiatives aiming to support emerging talents and funding new startups generously.

So, how leaving the EU might hit the digital economy hard? The answer is that by leaving the EU, the UK has shrunk its pool of talent by at least %20 according to some estimates, lost shared trade markets and of course will not be eligible for massive funds available through the EU programs to encourage clean energy, high-tech and other innovative fields.

Depressing? I do not think so, and here is why.

When it comes to finding talents in the laptop-lifestyle-era, we have an open market. Companies for years have relied on virtual management and outsourcing to save costs and hire qualified, skilled employees without much hassle of administrative, HR and immigration regulations.

The digital business sector is well-known to be without boundaries and effectively interconnected, not only B2B but also B2U (Business-to-University). Universities such as Cambridge, Glasgow, Durham and Edinburgh have highest graduates prospects and research quality; both have a direct impact on the talent pool available locally.

The technology trade markets are also without boundaries, with efforts in localization – both language-wise and regulation-wise, applications developed in a country are easily sold in another country given that the application solves a problem or makes people’s lives easier.

As a business strategist, I know that history repeats itself. We might feel that the world is changing now, but the fact is that the world is always changing. The strongest economies are built on the spirit of entrepreneurship and the vital role of governments in encouraging collective innovation and strategic renewal movements.

As we know, every heavy cloud has a silver lining, and the silver lining here is that many entrepreneurs will recognize the opportunities to fill any void that will result in the gloomy political situation. They will keep discovering problems to solve, and they will keep creating solutions.