A fifth of tech start-up leaders are foreign, creating Brexit risk » SMEInsider

A fifth of tech start-up leaders are foreign, creating Brexit risk

A vote for Britain to exit Europe would threaten the UK’s tech industry’s sustainability, as figures reveal that more than one in five directors at new tech firms are foreign nationals.

The number of foreign directors of UK tech start-ups has increased by 133 per cent since 2010, with most of those coming from EU countries, according to research from data intelligence firm DueDil.

But if Britain votes to leave the EU in the upcoming referendum, overseas entrepreneurs would be less inclined to set up business here, say two London tech leaders.


Global talent pool

Guy Levin, executive director for Coadec, and Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, said the figures indicate that the UK would become less appealing in the event of a Brexit.

Levin told City A.M: “The UK’s digital economy is thriving, with London the best place in Europe to launch a digital startup.

“Brexit would put this at risk, threatening the ability of British tech companies to scale and trade across a single market of over 500 million consumers, and hire from a talented pool of workers.”


Brexit will complicate things

Shaw added: “London has been hugely successful as a hub for new tech start-ups, not least because it is the best place in Europe for companies to scale.

“However, there is still a shortage of tech talent in the UK, and companies frequently have to scour Europe to get the specific expertise they need to fill key roles.

“Withdrawing from the EU would greatly complicate that process, resulting in entrepreneurs looking at alternative homes for their new businesses.”

The figures were released less than a week after the government announced it would introduce a £1,000 annual levy on employers for each non-EU worker they take on.