Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Making BrITain Great Again

(By Richard Holway 5.00pm 21st July 09) As you might read in a wide range of publications, this morning I took part in the launch of the Making BrITain Great Again Technology Manifesto. Indeed, I have been a part of the team developing the Manifesto after Stephen Kelly CEO of Micro Focus put forward and launched the idea.

The Technology Manifesto is all about developing a plan to develop sustainable growth, employment, and wealth from the intellectual property (IP-rich) technology industries. The aim is to create a quarter of a million UK jobs to be created within 8-10 years.

Making BrITain Great Again was launched by Micro Focus CEO Stephen Kelly at the House of Lords together with a cross-party panel of parliamentarians - Lord Young of Graffham (Conservative and former Secretary of State for Employment and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry), Lord Harris of Haringey (Labour) and Lord Razzall of Mortlake (LibDem)….and me! (I was described as “one of the UK’s leading Technology statesmen” which is a lot better than the usual “veteran analyst”)

The Manifesto outlines three areas which hold the key to a step change in the technology sector’s contribution to UK plc – entrepreneurship; academic connections with industry; and a consistent fiscal framework for growth and prosperity. The over-riding goal of the Manifesto is to increase UK technology jobs by 250,000 and in the process, significantly raise the contribution by home-grown technology businesses to GDP over the next ten years, thus providing a real roadmap for recovery by creating sustainable jobs, businesses and wealth.

To build the global businesses to achieve this, today’s Technology Manifesto recommends five directional priorities:

1. Jobs, jobs, jobs… Increase the supply of world-class technology talent in the UK. Here I am particularly keen to get more entry-level IT jobs created in the UK for UK graduates and school leavers.

2. Harness the expertise and goodwill of successful leaders around the world to mentor leaders of UK-based emerging technology businesses

3. Radically change the tax incentives available to companies and individuals who want to invest in growing technology businesses. Here I was pretty amazed to find out that I could not use the EIS scheme for my investment required to start up TechMarketView. Why? Because I was to be ‘involved’ in the business! Surely that’s exactly what you want serial entrepreneurs to do!

4. Implement specific fiscal incentives for UK-based tech companies seeking to accelerate world-leading R&D

5. Proactively encourage international technology companies to invest in the UK

I’m sure you will be hearing a lot more about this in the months to come. Indeed, the aim is to take the Manifesto to the leading political parties at their annual conferences to ensure that the recommendations are included in their manifestos for the next General Election.

If you support this, the very best thing you can do is to become an ENDORSER. Already, many of the UK leaders have joined up. Go to http://www.makingbritaingreat.co.uk/ where you can also download the full Manifesto.

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