This week I was honoured to attend a roundtable in Downing Street with the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer to discuss how the Government can best support new and growing technology companies across the UK.
It’s not the first time I’ve had the privilege of visiting “No 10”, but I still felt an appropriate sense of occasion as I displayed my invitation at the gate and followed the well-trodden path that so many politicians, influencers and business leaders have taken to that famous front door.
There were just a handful of businesses invited to participate in the roundtable, and as a group of technology leaders it was quite a different experience from many meetings we take part in. For one thing, we were required to follow security protocol by storing smartphones, tablets and laptops outside of the meeting room. I was glad that I remembered to bring my notebook and pen!
The meeting was a genuine free-flowing discussion with the Prime Minister and Chancellor who were very keen to hear our views and learn from our experiences. I had the opportunity to talk about our passion for making mobility safer and smarter for all, the international centre of excellence in telematics we are building here in the UK, and the journey that we’ve embarked upon with The Floow. We’ve grown from a team of three to more than one hundred people, have been supported by funding rounds including this year’s investment of £13million, and have gained market recognition such as the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation late last year.
The Prime Minister asked how the Government can help more companies like ours to grow across the North of England. I shared my perspective on the wealth of expertise that’s to be found in Sheffield, the strengths of the city’s two world-class universities and the growing ecosystem Sheffield has to support digital entrepreneurs. We talked about how this could be complemented by continued strengthening of infrastructure across the region, including rail links and rural broadband.
The Prime Minister and Chancellor were keen to hear views surrounding UK Tech
Following the roundtable there was a reception where we were joined by some of the brightest talent from the UK’s tech community. The Government announced the welcome news of increased investment into the business support network, TechNation, and a new Govtech Catalyst to encourage greater public/private collaboration on smart solutions for public sector challenges – be it reducing traffic jams or tackling air pollution. I’m excited about seeing if this is something that our team at The Floow can help with, making public services smarter and data-driven through our ever-increasing mobility knowledge.
I left the event reflecting on how far we’ve come as a business: we’re no longer an early start-up like those the Government is so keen to encourage. We’re now in a phase of significant growth, with many international clients, a new office in the United States and Joint Venture partners in China – which is poised to become the largest automotive market in the world and a hotbed for mobility innovation.
The great news is that with hard work and commitment, we’re well-placed to continue our growth, and stay focused on our mission of making mobility safer and smarter for everyone.
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