Grant Shapps eyes scheme to create 'Silicon Valley with British edge'

Grant Shapps eyes scheme to create 'Silicon Valley with British edge'

Grant Shapps eyes scheme to create ‘Silicon Valley with a British edge’ to produce global company like Google and Apple

  • Grant Shapps set out plans to create a ‘Silicon Valley with a British edge’
  • The aim will be to produce a global giant company with the stature of Google
  • Business leaders  at the World Economic Forum welcomed his aspirations
  • But one characterised his speech as ‘a good ambition but no specifics’

Business Secretary Grant Shapps set out plans yesterday to create a ‘Silicon Valley with a British edge’.

The aim will be to produce a global giant company with the stature of Google, Amazon or Apple in the UK.

Mr Shapps told an audience of UK business leaders at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos that he wanted to help innovative businesses not only to develop in Britain but also to stay and grow into world beaters.

He said there was no lack of innovation but that the UK ‘must do better’ in converting ‘start-ups to scale-ups’, adding: ‘I want to inspire scale-up Britain.’ 

Business Secretary Grant Shapps set out plans yesterday to create a ‘Silicon Valley with a British edge’. The aim will be to produce a global giant company with the stature of Google, Amazon or Apple in the UK

Mr Shapps told an audience of UK business leaders at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos that he wanted to help innovative businesses not only to develop in Britain but also to stay and grow into world beaters

He hopes to launch the quest for growth with a ‘scale-up summit’ of tech and finance figures who have previously helped fledgling firms expand across the world.

Business leaders welcomed Mr Shapps’ aspirations, but one characterised his speech as ‘a good ambition but no specifics’.

Mr Shapps’s speech hailed the fact that the UK was one of only three countries with a tech sector worth more than one trillion dollars (£810billion) but acknowledged that companies nurtured in Britain often end up moving overseas to expand. 

The Business Secretary said there was no lack of innovation in Britain but that the country ‘must do better’ in converting ‘start-ups to scale-ups’. 

‘I want to inspire scale-up Britain. Building businesses that don’t just develop in the UK but stay to grow and mature into world-leaders,’ he added. 

It comes at a time of growing complaints from MPs and businesses about the lack of a growth agenda for Britain under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. 

While they are widely regarded as having steadied the ship after the disastrous mini-Budget threw markets into turmoil and cost Liz Truss her job as prime minister, there are fears that by throwing her tax-cutting agenda into reverse gear they have added to recession pressures. 

Mr Shapps seemed to address those concerns as he made clear growth was a priority as it would create the conditions to fix the NHS, tackle the cost of living squeeze and ‘level up’ the country.

‘For this Government, growth isn’t a goal, a target or a destination,’ he said. ‘It’s the cornerstone of everything we want to deliver. 

Nothing will deflect us from this most urgent of priorities.’ 

The Business Secretary, a Remain voter in the Brexit referendum, also said leaving the EU had created ‘significant challenges’ but that he could now ‘see how we can reap the benefits’ through trade deals and freedom from red tape. 

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