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Grant Shapps calls for ‘scale-up Britain’ to learn from Silicon Valley mistakes

Shapps Scale-up
Image credit: Shutterstock

Business secretary Grant Shapps has said he plans to make the UK country a better place for startups to scale up and that the UK can “learn from the mistakes” of Silicon Valley.

Speaking in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum, Shapps outlined his vision to launch a “Scale-up Summit” for those within the finance and technology markets.

“What we must do better is convert startups to scaleups. 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-beaters,” said Shapps.

Shapps said he believes that the UK is better positioned to secure investment post-Brexit. He said the UK tech scale-up ecosystem could become akin to Silicon Valley, but believes the UK can “learn from the mistakes it has made”.

Shapps said: “Its unicorns have sometimes prioritised shareholder value above all else. Its culture sometimes falls short of the standards we expect from modern employers.”

The business secretary also took aim at Silicon Valley for creating a few “unimaginably rich” without ensuring the money is “shared by everyone”.

It comes after Jeremy Hunt revealed in the Autumn Statement the goal of making the UK the “world’s next Silicon Valley”.

Hunt and Shapps then recruited five industry experts, in areas such as artificial intelligence, to start work on the objective laid out in the Autumn Statement.

Key areas that are being looked into for growth are “digital technology, green industries, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and the creative industries”.