At the recent Google Zeitgeist conference in Hertfordshire, UK Chancellor George Osborne announced that schoolchildren will be taught to design apps for smartphones through a deal with Blackberry under which they will hold an ‘apps challenge’ at the technology hub in Shoreditch in East London.
An unnamed Treasury spokesperson is quoted as saying that ‘Our hope is the UK can produce a Zuckerberg or Brin of the future’.
While this is a laudable objective, however creative the people – and the UK’s techies are highly creative – being clever is not enough.
What young entrepreneurs need is cash to start and grow businesses – something the UK banks are strangely reluctant to provide, in spite of threats by the Government if the High Street banks do not increase their lending.
Tech hubs (such as those around the Silicon Roundabout in London) and business incubators are springing up throughout the UK but having great ideas and superb technical skills are not enough.
Private investors – such as those who invest via Angels Den are doing a great job but what we need is low cost or no cost start-up finance for tech companies.
Otherwise the UK will never create an international business to rival Facebook or Google.