EY report: UK is best place in Europe to start a digital business

The UK has been ranked as the top G20 country for the ease of starting a digital business and navigating through the country’s regulatory environment. This is according to research released by EY today.

The G20 Digital Entrepreneurship Barometer assesses a country’s performance against indicators of entrepreneurship to help identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. Composed of quantitative data to capture entrepreneurial conditions across G20 economies, the model also looked at access to funding, digital skills and entrepreneurial culture and education.

Scoring the highest marks for its digital business environment, including regulation such as recruitment practices, taxation frameworks, time taken to start a business and legal efficiency, the UK also scored 2nd, to the US, for its digital knowledge base and communications technology market.

Radhika Chadwick, partner for digital government at EY commented: “It’s great to see the UK leading the way for supporting digital start-ups. Taking the hassle out of getting a business off the ground boosts the creation of innovative and dynamic businesses, which drive economic growth in the UK.

“Although vocal on the digital and start-up agenda, the government itself cannot be left behind. Bringing the same digital environment into Whitehall will ensure greater savings are delivered for the taxpayer through better use of technology as well as the public reaping the benefits of faster and more efficient public services.”

Digital skills & access to finance

The UK’s lowest ranking amongst the research was for access to finance such as VC and angel funding, where the nation came 9th place.

However, the UK fared slightly better on availability of digital skills, taking 7th place, and entrepreneurial culture and education, taking 4th.

“Access to finance and digital skills look to be a bigger challenge for young UK entrepreneurs compared to other G20 countries but despite this, we are still faring better than the majority.

“Promoting entrepreneurialism through TV programmes such as Dragon’s Den, as well as greater publicising of start-up funds for young people will go a long way in giving a leg-up to wealth creators of the future,” Chadwick continued.

Going further

The Barometer is the basis of a new report, ‘Digital Disruption — Threat or Opportunity for Entrepreneurship?’ which has been released to mark the start of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance (G20 YEA) summit in China.

The report warns that G20 leaders must do more to support young entrepreneurs through policies that ensure digital disruption enables rather than hinders their business development plans.

Bjorn Conway, head of UK government and public sector at EY, commented: “With Brexit on the horizon, the UK government, more so than the other G20, will be thinking about how the economy can be set up to succeed in this digital age.

“By understanding the issues that young entrepreneurs face, policy can help play a critical role in turning digital disruption into a powerful opportunity.

“Supporting an entrepreneurial environment that encourages our young people to establish, grow and scale their businesses will ensure the UK continues to be competitive on the world stage into the future.”