A recent BBC5Live Wake Up To Money Brexit Investigation with one of the largest tech industry players, Cambridge Consultants, TechInsider and the brightest Start-Ups has revealed that far from being a hindrance to the sector, BREXIT has not only strengthened the industry but is delivering new outlets to it throughout the sector. Contributor Sean Farrington – BBC Journalist
Sean Farrington visited Cambridge, one of Europe’s biggest Technology Clusters, to find out how Brexit will affect the 157,000 people employed there and the 1.7million people employed in the tech sector throughout the UK.
He attended Cambridge Consultants’ Laboratory in the Cambridge Science Park to ask Richard Hammond, Director of Synthetic Biotics, Giles Derrington, Head of Policy, TechUK and Melanie Harwood, Founder and CEO of Start-Bee, their thoughts on Brexit and its effect on the Tech Sector.
“Cambridge Consultants was founded in 1960, long before the European Union and the Science Park was opened in 1970’s, all before the UK’s relationship with the EU was well underway. It does remind you that lots of innovation, lots of growth does happen regardless of the scenario. If the technology is there and there is interest in it, they will buy it. But how much of the success over the decades has been because of the EU, has any of it has been held back?” asked Sean Farrington.
Richard Hammond, Director of Synthetic Biotics, Cambridge Consultants, responded, “I think a lot of people define it much too narrowly. There is a view that tech is somehow only IT and computers which is far too narrow a definition . Technology is any application of science or engineering to solve problems in the world. To make good products and processes and improve what happens and how we do things. It is a global industry for the UK, generating £170 Billion annually by the Tech Sector and it provides 1.6 million jobs.”
Sean Farrington asked Melanie Harwood, CEO and Founder of Tech Startup, Start-Bee, “When you’re running a start up, you don’t know what the future looks like for yourselves, does what happens on March 2019 and any relationships we have with the European Union really affect how your business might look later that year?”
Melanie Harwood has a positive take on Brexit, “Not at all, I no longer listen to nor watch the news as it is far too negative. Our Handwriting Lessons, which are delivered by an age-appropriate child for each specific school year group, are streamed directly onto the Interactive Whiteboards, Laptops and SmartPads of schools up and down the country. We have been inundated with requests for our innovative lessons to be delivered to schools from as far afield as Tuvalu.
We are also launching a new product, Handwriting @ Home with Hannah-Jane, an online Membership Club, so that children can work alongside our peer-to-peer child instructor, in the comfort of their own homes. The interest for both our tech learning offerings are coming in from places I have never heard of.
I am now looking at Google Earth to find out where our lessons will be streamed, because technology has no borders whatsoever! We must be positive because it is this technology that is shaping our world and making it easier to trade. Brexit has certainly opened my own mind to the possibilities of trading not only with Europe. There is a huge market out there for British Tech Firms and Start-Ups like mine to spread outward regardless of Brexit.” Giles Derrington, Head of Policy for European Exit at TechUK, had his own take on it, “Minister’s views on data rules was based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how EU rules on data.