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January 30, 2018

UK startups choose Brexit over EU escape plans

Despite Brexit concerns, on average UK startups are not looking to expand or move to the EU after the split.

By Tom Ball

UK startups are showing confidence in regard to Brexit on average, but some are still mulling the possibility of setting up an EU outpost.

A majority 53 per cent of UK startups have expressed having no intentions to expand beyond the shores of home, but 25 per cent are expecting to branch out to keep a foot in the door.

In contrast to the mass exodus of organisations predicted by some at the time of the Brexit vote, only 14 per cent of UK startups are considering moving their headquarters into the EU.

In addition to these findings, the Silicon Valley Bank report also found that just six per cent say they are actively looking to move outside of the UK and Europe.

Phil Cox, Head of EMEA and President of Silicon Valley Bank’s UK Branch, said: “Eighteen months on from the Brexit vote, the UK remains a strong pillar for innovation in Europe… Despite uncertainty, entrepreneurs and startups are forging ahead, creating jobs and raising capital to enhance the UK’s global competitiveness. Whilst one in four will be opening a European outpost – up from one in five in 2017 – slightly more than half of UK startups do not plan to expand outside of Britain. Despite challenges relating to regulation, cybersecurity and consumer privacy issues, many UK startups are of the opinion that 2018 will be better than 2017.”

Fintech in the UK is a prime example of a space that has continued to boom after Brexit, continuing to attract record international investment, positioning the UK market third in the world beaten only by the United States and China.

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“UK startups say that access to talent continues to be their greatest concern, and ongoing Brexit negotiations lead to uncertainty around the future of immigration and international trade. However, efforts are under way to help ensure that startups are still able to attract and employ the best talent. For example, the UK government announced in November that it would be doubling the number of specialist technology visas available to high-skilled workers entering the UK from outside the EU. This will be a significant boost to British startups that have feared a post-Brexit skills shortage and underscores that the UK continues to be a strong place to start and grow a business,” said Cox.

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