Ed Vaizey, MP, minister for digital economy told the Salesforce World Tour event in London that the UK tech sector is best off in Europe and that the free flow of information around a digital single market of 500 million people would spur economic growth for the sector.
Mr Vaizey said lots of different factors to make the UK successful and government interest in the space shouldn’t be underestimated.
He said the UK was good at building digital infrastructure around 4G and broadband and said every country is facing challenges in upgrading skills. "We’ve got a good skills base in the UK but we’re not complecent, we’re constantly looking at how we can reform it."
Investment and scale up investment was something that should be organic and that successful tech entrepreneurs reinvesting capital and skills was starting to pick up. However he acknowledged that the UK and European tech investment space was some way behind that of Silicon Valley.
"There exists a good investment and business climate, good tax environment and being part of the European Union, means the UK is good for the digital companies. Start ups get significant support from Tech City. I was skeptical when it was set up but am a convert. It is important to have a porous relationship with government a dialogue on how we can improve policy."
Safe Harbour and the investigatory powers bill were important topics for debate with Mr Vaizey saying the discussion with the tech industry should not be characterized as a binary debate where one is either in favour of encryption or in favour of security – ‘you are not either pro encryption or pro surveillance.’
At its event Salesforce Ventures, the company’s global corporate investment group said it had invested in 10 companies inside EMEA.
It said Salesforce Ventures invested in DigitalGenius, NewVoiceMedia and Qubit. "Salesforce is seeing phenomenal momentum in the U.K. and we are excited to increase our investment in this region to support our growing customer base as well as our thriving partner ecosystem," said Andrew Lawson, U.K and Ireland Managing Director, Salesforce. "It’s an incredible time for us to be working with some of the U.K.’s best-loved brands, as well as many of its innovative startup companies — helping to drive the digital transformation that will propel the U.K. economy forward."
"Digital innovation is at the heart of the U.K. economy and plays an important role in driving growth," said Mr Vaizey, "Digital technology businesses are transforming the employment landscape, driving productivity, and reimagining traditional industries. Events such as the Salesforce World Tour London serve to underline this and throw light on the vibrant technology ecosystem we have in this country."
Read a full exclusive interview with Ed Vaizey on the prospects for the UK Digital Economy