Key time for technology firms
New figures show lending into the sector across the UK increased by over 11% year on year to May 2017.
According to figures, NatWest’s dedicated Technology, Media and Telecoms team lent over £9bn in the year to the end of April 2017 – an increase of nearly £2bn from the previous year.
Neil Bellamy, Head of Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) at NatWest, said: “There has never been a better time to start up a technology business. Thanks to new technology you can literally set up a business from your smart phone on your kitchen table – so getting a business started has never been cheaper or easier. There are also so many ways to use other people’s technology to scale up your business – like through the cloud – so opportunity and potential is unlimited.”
According to Neil, the key growth has been seen in three main sectors; software companies, cyber security and unified communications (UC) businesses.
Software companies continue to represent the largest proportion of high growth businesses as they help businesses to automate, improve efficiency and productivity. This isn’t a new sector (Microsoft is 42 years old this year) but what is often missed is how relevant software development remains for today’s digital economy and how much room is left for growth.
Cyber security is undoubtedly one of the biggest risk factors for most businesses as they transform digitally and there is huge potential for further growth and innovation in that space.
As for UC businesses which help businesses digitalise and unify their communications strategies, these have seen growing popularity amongst SME businesses in particular, because they take advantage of their ability to tailor services for customers’ needs whereas larger businesses struggle with their higher cost to service model.
Neil added: “It’s great to see such fantastic growth across the sector. We’re committed to supporting technology businesses across the UK”.
Does June's unexpected fall in the rate of inflation herald the start of a retreat? It seems unlikely. The fall in sterling that has helped push inflation higher is still filtering through into consumer prices. And even at the lower rate inflation remains uncomfortably above wage growth. That's a considerable headwind for the economy.
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