A few weeks ago, I invited UK Startups to attend a Press roundtable, so we could debate the state of the economy and what effect that had on the startup community, in a positive or negative fashion.
What did we debate ?
UK Start ups debating on the role of the start up in the current economic climate, changing business models and the importance of technology & innovation to help them grow in these uncertain times.
On Tuesday 22nd October, The Bank of England governor Mervyn King and an influential think tank predicted that the UK economy is likely to sink into recession in 2009. Mervyn King told business leaders in Leeds he was concerned about rising unemployment and falling house prices. Economic fears sent the pound plunging to a five-year low against the dollar. It is clear that economic conditions are deteriorating. Credit conditions are tightening, especially in the case of small and medium sized enterprises.
A recent BT Business's State of the Small Business Nation 2008 report showed that 47% of small firms in Britain reported rising costs, against a national figure of 57%. The same report showed that technology was shown to be playing a key role in the business world with 81% of firms across the UK saying it had a positive impact on their companies.
What of the UK start up community? How are they fairing in these uncertain times?
One could argue that great companies are built at moments like these. Innovation loves a crisis. Customers are open to change and new ideas. Companies are using innovative IT as a competitive advantage. Are small start ups succeeding in this uncertain climate?
Who Attended ?
OneIS - a secure online space for data-rich companies to manage and share information. Focused specifically on the needs of small businesses, OneIS integrates tools for collaboration, document management and CRM, in one easy and affordable hosted service.
EveryCity Ltd provides a range of managed hosting services including specific offerings to Web 2.0 startup companies and digital agencies. The London-based company positions itself as a specialist in delivering custom-made managed hosting solutions along with scalable high bandwidth solutions on managed dedicated servers.
fav.or.it Ltd is a Web 2.0 startup company with impressive ambitions for its cutting-edge social-networking technology, fav.or.it, which it bills as the RSS reader for the masses. Founded in late 2007, the fast-growing company is based in London.
Yuuguu was founded to enhance companies working remotely and not being able to see and share each other’s computer screens in real time. Recognising the changing world of work, Yuuguu's solution helps people work together remotely, through any firewall, across different platforms, with as many colleagues as needed, just as if they were sat right next to each other.
FlexiScale is built on providing traditional hosting solutions to the business, home and reseller markets and now it services thousands of customers across the UK and Europe from its UK-based data centres.
Practice-IT provides companies with an affordable on-demand platform to help employees learn, explore, and perform through the convenience of a Web browser. The London-based company has developed Practice-Labs, which give trainees dedicated access to their own environment where they can gain real-world, hands-on experience and skills.
Tactile CRM specialize in online contact and sales management for small businesses, and is an easy way to manage your contacts, sales, notes, emails & activities in one place with your whole team. Tactile CRM was launched in March 2008 and will be releasing a new version in Q4 2008.
Belocal - Society wants to be more local, this will become even more important in
tough economic times. The need to use technology to enable this, how
well start ups can do in harder times, people will now look to local
providers (plumbers etc) even more when times are tough.
So to find out more around what they discussed check out - the press views