Why the UK? Current trends in the technology sector and growth opportunities for your digital business

4 minute read
17 July 2019


Current trends and growth opportunities in the UK technology sector were the focus of a recent conference hosted by the Montreal office of Gowling WLG. On June 6, 2019, Gowling WLG, in partnership with the British Consulate-General in Montreal and the UK Department for International Trade, organized a highly successfully seminar on these topics. Below are some highlights from the presentation.


  • Andrew Elwick, Head of IT, Electronics, Communications and Creative, UK Department for International Trade
  • Chloe Adams, British Consul-General Montreal
  • Naïm Antaki, Partner, Gowling WLG, Montreal

Despite the concerns and uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the United Kingdom is currently one of the most promising locations to scale up and grow your business in the technology sector. It boasts one of the world's best environments for talent, innovation and commercial opportunities and welcomes businesses looking for global growth.

Skills and Talent

The UK has a remarkable pool of technological talent. It has the ecosystem to develop skills and to put them into action in order to make your business as profitable as possible. The UK remains a hotbed for technology talent, employing 5% of high-growth tech workers globally, placing the country ahead of Japan, France and India. Some of the most important highlights in developing and attracting talent include the fact that the UK:

  • Hosts four of the world's top 10 Universities – Eight of Europe's top 20
  • Nurtures universities that are developing emerging areas of study : 26 universities in the UK now offer degrees in Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Encourages the rapid growth of its talent pool through startups and SMEs that breed enhanced skills and develop the workforce
  • Enables larger UK companies to support the development of niche skills
  • Offers an apprenticeship program that is heavily subsidized by the government.

Innovation and commercial opportunities

The UK has some of the greatest institutions — organizations that push boundaries and drive companies to help them innovate more quickly. Examples are:

  • Digital Catapult
    • A national centre that rapidly advances the best digital ideas and brings them to market
      • Immersive (AR/VR)
      • Future networks (5G)
      • AI
  • Future Cities Catapult
    • Accelerates urban ideas to get them to market, grow the economy and improve city living
      • Cities/businesses/universities
      • Urban innovation centre
      • IoT/Data analytics
  • Alan Turing Institute:
    • Institute for Data Science & Artificial Intelligence: Dedicated to British computer pioneer and code-breaker Alan Turing (42 million GBP initial investment). This institute is a collaboration between 13 UK universities.

Furthermore, the commercial ecosystem and opportunities currently present in the UK make it a very attractive setting for expanding business. The UK has the lowest corporate tax in the G7 at 20%. The country is also ranked first in the world for its "soft power" – a reputational and diplomatic influence based on a mix of cultural, creative, business and political strengths. It has a transparent, flexible legal structure and corporate governance systems that make it fast and simple to establish a company in the UK.

As an international, sector-focused law firm with more than 1,500 legal professionals in 18 cities around the world — including London and Birmingham in the UK — Gowling WLG is here to help you overcome your complex business challenges anywhere in the world. Learn more about the Gowling WLG Tech team.

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