Out-Law News 2 min. read

Government training and development focus supports UK tech capabilities

Small London businesses operating in any sector, and other UK-based technology start-ups specifically exploring international expansion, stand to benefit from engaging with government-backed training and development initiatives, an expert has said.

Simon Colvin of Pinsent Masons, who advises public sector organisations and businesses on technology projects, was commenting in light of recent news concerning the operation of two UK initiatives that – in their very different way – seek to enhance technology capabilities and opportunities within the UK business community.

Earlier this month, Intralink announced that it had helped seven UK businesses meet with Korean semiconductor companies and that four of those companies had subsequently entered commercial negotiations with “potential Korean customers and partners” over the supply of their products.

Intralink runs the UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme, which is a UK government-backed initiative designed to support UK-headquartered technology startups and scaleups to grow their business in the Asia Pacific region. The initiative spans 11 countries – South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. Intralink organised the meetings that led to the opening of negotiations in Korea. The meetings coincided with Korea hosting the SEMICON global semiconductor industry event, which was attended by a UK government delegation.

Jeremy Shaw, Intralink chief operating officer and head of the UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme, said: “The thirst for UK technology in Korea was underlined by the response to the innovative technologies offered by all the UK companies we supported during SEMICON Korea. We look forward to helping many more UK tech scaleups realise their potential in the APAC region during 2024.”

In London, a separate initiative aimed at helping small businesses make better use of digital technology is in operation. Small business owners in London can obtain one-to-one advice with experienced business advisers, as well as access guidance, webinars and events, under the London E-Business Support Programme, which is run by Business for London. City of London Corporation, one of the delivery partners, said the scheme can help small London businesses with building their online presence, enhancing their online marketing, using digital tools to become more efficient, and with improving cybersecurity, among other things.

Colvin said: “It is great to see the UK government focusing on training and development for businesses, both locally and internationally. Whilst the focus of the two initiatives is different, it is really encouraging to see how the government wants to engage with these companies through group or one to one training sessions or consultations.”

“Many UK SMEs focused solely on the UK market need the boost from government to tool up digitally given the economically challenging market they operate in, the fast-moving and evolving changes we are seeing with technology, in particular AI, and the risks inherent in their use. For UK tech scale-ups that would like to consider internationalisation, the government’s provision of an information hub and one-to-one engagement can help make the difference for businesses looking to plug into opportunities in Asia Pacific,” he said.

“Through initiatives such as these, the government can be there to provide a boost to businesses and assist them with overcoming challenges, whether at start up or at expansion stage. The more the government is able to support businesses on a one to one basis, the more this will enable it to better understand the challenges businesses are facing and flex their training and development programmes – and we hope, policies – accordingly,” he added.

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