Can you open a company for 20 pounds? To encourage innovation in the UK, it’s much more than that.

20 pounds to start a company? To encourage innovation, Britain is doing more than that.

Born in Yorkshire, Heba Bevan, a beautiful engineer who worked in Silicon Valley at the age of 22, returned to campus after seeing the world's high-tech innovation center. PHD (Research Ph.D.) at Cambridge University, where he conducted wireless sensor-related research until he graduated from Cambridge University Laboratory to break up a company-UtterBerry.UtterBerry, which specializes in a low-cost wireless sensor. Strong robustness, withstood all kinds of harsh tests, soon her company has a high market share in the UK.

UtterBerry sensor, smaller than ordinary bus card

This Cambridge UtterBerry sensor is widely used. Hospitals, bridges, tunnels, and large buildings use it to monitor data to make plans for what may happen. At the same time, UtterBerry also plays an important role in the construction of smart cities.

Summarizing the experience a few years after the start-up, Heba said the government's infrastructure support for start-ups was key to the rapid rise of its companies.

UtterBerry sensors combine technological innovation with the lives of urban residents, and local governments in the UK are actively promoting this organic combination, giving innovative products more application scenarios. Like the Bristow city government, which invested £75 million in a city-wide installation of sensors similar to UtterBerry, it tracks all kinds of information, including energy supplies, air quality, traffic conditions, and so on. It has greatly saved energy and improved the living experience of the residents.

The British government has always spared no effort to help with the, Innovate UK program, a good example of the. Innovate UK program, the UK Technical Strategy Council's "Innovation UK" program, which aims to finance start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises. Training and other services. Since 2007, Innovation UK has invested about £2.5 billion to help businesses across the country innovate.

For example, Qbots, a highly diversified energy technology startup, is mainly from China, India and other countries. “Innovative UK” fancy Qbots' use of the Internet of Things and AI technology in the energy industry collection, funding £260,000, and led the development of the University of Manchester and Qbots.

The UK government's support for innovation is not limited to local entrepreneurs. For example, the Sirius project (Sirius Program), which was implemented in September 2013, is designed to support overseas entrepreneurs to start a business in the UK. Successful applicants will be sent to five startup acceleration centers in major cities in the UK to receive instructor training and help. Each team member will also receive £12,000 in project funding. The startup team accepts joint assessments every three months to assess the platform's construction, product maturity, number of customers, investment potential, etc., in order to accelerate the development of the company and the project.

All of the above examples show the British government's eclectic desire for innovation and talent, and this emphasis is based on the precipitation of innovative genes in Britain for centuries.

The new impulse of the old nobility

In the past, there were many inventions in the UK. Whether it is a steam engine, a train, a radar, or a television, a telephone, or a computer, the process of human development has been promoted. In particular, the invention of the steam engine has greatly enhanced human productivity, enabled the rapid rise of the UK, and also brought the world into the industrial age.

Since the industrial era, technological innovation in the UK has never fallen, and many of the innovative products we are familiar with come from the United Kingdom:

The World Wide Web (WWW) was created by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee, who graduated from the Physics Department of Oxford University and created the World Wide Web at the European Nuclear Physics Laboratory.

In 1993, Dyson opened research and development centers and factories in the UK, and with innovative fashion design, Dyson occupied the UK, the United States, Japan and other markets, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan and other markets, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan and other markets. And in recent years the prevailing market in China.

Britain's ability to innovate in science and technology is closely related to its accumulation over the past two hundred years: first-class universities to cultivate the best talent; outstanding enterprises to contribute to high-quality innovation; and a sound legal system to protect intellectual property.

A set of data can more directly demonstrate the UK's ability to innovate:

The number of research papers published in the United Kingdom accounts for 6% of the world's total scientific research articles; 15% of the most cited articles in the world are from the United Kingdom; the top four in the global innovation index are among the most cited articles in the world; Europe 50% of artificial intelligence companies, 50% of financial technology start-ups in the UK.

The British government also maintains an open attitude towards innovation and invests huge sums of money to promote new technologies.

In fiscal year 2017-2018, the UK announced a £7 billion increase in R & D funding, bringing UK R & D spending to £125 billion four years later. In 2027, the UK increased R & D spending to 2.4 percent of GDP, and in the further future it will reach 3 percent. The expected investment ratio is similar to that of the United States, Germany, which spent 2.8 percent of its GDP on scientific research, compared with 2.9 percent in Germany. Behind this generous R & D grant is the British government matching its long-term ambitions with specific investments.

The landing of mature technology is clearly a more sensible choice, so many countries tend to reduce their investment in innovative technologies that cannot create economic benefits in the short term. But they will ignore it, that is, these seemingly "immature" technologies, once broken, will be a turning point in human history. For example - artificial intelligence.

In the field of artificial intelligence, the United Kingdom is at the forefront of the world in the three major directions of “AI showdown”, “unmanned driving” and “robot manpower”. The British government has also helped these emerging industries to lower barriers to cooperation and open up academia and business to make the industry grow rapidly.

There are a number of innovative AI companies in the UK, and new ones have been born quickly. In the past 36 months, a new AI startup has been set up almost every week in the UK, according to the 2017 Coadec report. The UK's AI industry has created many startups in healthcare, digital marketing, autopilot, identity authentication, financial services, legal technology, and education. HORBIA MIRA, for example, is Europe's leading research and development institute on engineering production and testing, with 39 laboratories (such as car driverless, unmanned aircraft, etc.) and 100km of test runways.

Thanks to the government's strong support, there is also its own "Silicon Valley" in the UK, located in London's Shoreditch's Tech City, also known as Silicon Roundabout, which is the smallest in Europe. The most exciting and infectious technology community. This area has gathered a large number of start-ups with a density of 3,000 per square kilometer. Intel, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Cisco and other technology giants have settled here. It is the core of London's technology entrepreneurship and is considered to be the world's third-largest technology enterprise cluster, second only to Silicon Valley and New York.

(the dotted high-tech company extends outward with the Old Street roundabout as its centre.)

*Image source network

Where does the motivation for innovation come from?

In recent years, there has been a wave of entrepreneurship among Chinese students in the UK. These entrepreneurs in the UK have anchored emerging industries such as TMT (technology, media, communications), robotics, environmental protection, biology, medicine, education, logistics, tourism and so on. The use of international talents and international cooperation has become a new driving force for innovation in the UK.

At the same time, the government has doubled the number of visas for talented people in the fields of science engineering, humanities, digital technology and the arts to 2000 a year, transferring visa quotas for other occupations to high-tech talent.

In addition, 27 British universities, including Cambridge University, Oxford University, Imperial College and Bath University, have not only simplified the process of applying for graduate visas for their international students, but also extended their visa validity after graduation. This approach not only makes it easier for international students to apply for graduate students in British universities, but also provides more time for them to find jobs on the spot after graduation.

With the support of talent, the UK has taken a leading position in new technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data. Statistics show that 50% of the artificial intelligence companies in Europe come from the UK. London is the largest big data market in Europe with a total value of 36 billion pounds. It is also the largest artificial intelligence gathering place in Europe, with more than 220 artificial intelligence start-ups and small and micro enterprises. Founded in the UK.

The country, which accounts for only 0.9% of the world's population, is attracting international talent in a more open manner, infusing new blood into British innovation.

Make it easier to start a business

In addition to talent and financial support, the British government has opened the door to entrepreneurship.

The UK government has made the threshold for entrepreneurship very low: registering a company simply fills out a form online and pays £20 for online registration, up to 15 minutes. Beginning in April 2019, the UK will issue visas to overseas entrepreneurs faster and more smoothly.

At the same time, companies in the UK are almost exclusively involved in corporate income tax, with a tax rate of only 19%. Compared to China's 25% tax, the UK tax rate is relatively more friendly to startups. Certain types of businesses can also apply to the UK Revenue Agency for tax breaks, which eliminates the need to pay corporate income tax and has a tax subsidy policy. The more common method is capital subsidy, which means that entrepreneurs can apply for capital subsidies when they purchase commercial equipment, machinery and vehicles. If you are a start-up student, you can also apply for a university incubator to help reduce taxes.

The UK ranks third in the world among the countries with the lowest start-up costs, while the UK ranks eighth in the world in terms of the convenience of operating companies.

With the convenience of entrepreneurship, British technology companies have mushroomed in the past 20 years. In 2017, UK technology companies grew by 60%. In 2018, there were a total of 650,000 start-ups in the UK, an increase of 5% compared to 2017. On average, every 50 minutes in the UK, a technology startup was established in the UK. Among them, London has nearly 200,000 technology companies with a total valuation of more than 285 billion pounds.

These start-ups in the UK are highly valued by venture capital firms. In 2017, UK start-ups received $8.1 billion in venture capital, the highest in Europe, 1.6 times that of Germany and 1.8 times that of France. The favorable business environment has made the UK technology industry highly international, even surpassing Silicon Valley in the United States, and one-third of its users of London technology products come from outside the UK.

Under the background of the British government opening up international cooperation and encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship, the cooperation between China and the UK on technological innovation is also deepening. In December 2017, the two countries signed the Memorandum of Cooperation on Science and Technology Innovation, releasing Sino-British technological innovation. Cooperation strategy. The new strategy will support the research and industry of the two countries to explore new opportunities and address global challenges. Among them, the “Research and Innovation Bridge” program has set up a bridge between industry, university and research cooperation and scientific research achievements, which has prompted more and more entrepreneurs to hope to catch up with the express train of science and technology between the two countries. Under this plan, in addition to direct mergers and acquisitions of innovative R&D companies, Chinese companies also cooperate with UK universities and research institutes to set up R&D centers to use advanced international scientific and technological resources for industrial R&D and personnel training. For example, AVIC has jointly established a research and development center with Imperial College and the University of Nottingham; China CRRC Group and Birmingham University, Imperial College of Science and Technology, and Southampton University intend to jointly establish the Sino-British Rail Transit Technology Joint R&D Center. China's investment in the UK has also shown a new trend: China's investment in the UK has gradually shifted to diversification and multi-disciplinary areas, many of which have flowed into the high-tech sector.

The new journey of the "golden age" of Sino-British relations has gradually opened up. In recent years, the willingness to cooperate between China and Britain has been increasing, and the deepening of cooperation in the field of scientific and technological innovation is becoming a highlight in the development of Sino-British relations. Through the complementary cooperation between China and Britain, we believe that this will be a new opportunity for entrepreneurs.

Click on the links below to learn more about UK innovations.

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