Budget 2012: A Vision Of Britain As A Hub Of Tech Innovation

Technical Innovation

The Chancellor has called on Britain to become the technology hub for Europe. The 2012 Budget shows how the Government is committed to stepping up a gear in developing digital, creative and other high technology industries in this country.

We’re seeing green shoots of recovery in the economy and this Budget will be a shot in the arm for firms in this area. It’s now crucial to capitalise on this Budget and make sure the support and investment is made available for these companies to survive, and thrive.

The good news is that the early signs are positive. Investment that has already taken place in the UK’s technology infrastructure is bearing fruit with some of the most innovative digital businesses in the world operating here.

I want to see more companies from the gaming and digital TV world setting up shop in this country and taking advantage of the support network that is available to them. After all, this country has a proud heritage of creating franchises such as ‘Tomb Raider’. We want to see more of these innovative companies given the opportunity to flourish here.

An engine room of growth has been quietly motoring along over at Silicon Roundabout which is contributing to the UK’s £120 billion internet economy, but there is room to grow. With the number of technology firms in Tech City tripling in the last 12 months to more than 600, it’s easy to see why the area is getting so much attention. Small-to-medium sized and highly specialised, this cluster of high-tech start-ups continues to expand.

Such businesses can really benefit from the helping hand offered to them by the Chancellor. With schemes such as business coaching for high growth potential small businesses and non-traditional lending channels outlined in the Budget, we’re making good progress. This is what will enable UK innovators to push the UK forward to compete internationally and help us create ‘the next Google’.

As the Chancellor said, Britain is world renowned for attracting investment. But we need to also attract and recruit the right people.

Recognising the need for super-connected cities is a massive step forward for innovation in the UK. It’s excellent to see that an additional £50 million has been set aside to fund a second wave of investment. This will expand the initial focus on the capital and the nation’s major cities. In an era when both our personal and professional lives have become so reliant upon the web, ultrafast connectivity is the name of the game.

My company recently spoke to 5,000 organisations and more than a quarter told us improvements to internet access would dramatically change their business. With companies increasingly reliant on bandwidth-hungry web-based services, it’s easy to see why 31 per cent of companies now view fast, reliable and high-capacity internet access as essential. That’s why the internet is now firmly a part of the UK’s roadmap to success. It’s progress that I can’t welcome enough.

Mark Heraghty was appointed as Managing Director for Virgin Media Business in June 2009. He leads the Business Division’s senior management team with direct responsibilities for the leadership of sales, marketing, product management and customer operations in the UK business market with a focus on spearheading growth. He is one of the most experienced and capable business-to-business telecoms executives in the UK and brings with him a wealth of knowledge. Mark has been involved with the telecommunications industry for the last 17 years, previously as CEO UK and Europe for Cable and Wireless and more recently with Reliance Globalcom, where he was President EMEA, with regional responsibility for the former FLAG Telecom and Vanco businesses that Reliance acquired in 2004 and 2008. Mark holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Trinity College Dublin (1985) and an MBA awarded by Warwick University Business School (1992).