LSBF Blog - Global Matters

London tech scene receives £85m from UK government

December 15 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

The UK government has launched a new scheme called the London Co-Investment Fund (LCIF) in an attempt to fix the funding problem experienced by the capital’s tech start-ups.

Established by Funding London and Capital Enterprise, the project has secured £25 million to be invested in over 150 seed-stage firms in the technology, digital and science sectors over the next three years.

Another £60 million will be provided by six private sector partners: Wellington Partners, Playfair Capital, London Business Angels, Angel Lab, Firestartr, and Crowdcube/Braveheart Consortium.

These were chosen based on their past knowledge of investing in the three sectors.

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Number of new businesses close to record high

December 12 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

According to the latest figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the rate at which new firms are emerging is at close to a record high.

ONS data shows that 28.5 per cent more businesses were created in 2013 compared to the year before, bringing the total to 346,000. The measure of new companies as a proportion of all the UK’s firms stood at 14.1 per cent in 2013, which was the highest since ONS began recording the data in 2004.

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UK is the best place for start-ups, says Innocent boss

December 12 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Start-up companies in the UK are well placed to become multinational brands, according to Richard Reed, the co-founder of Innocent Drinks.

Innocent Drinks started out as a stall at a music festival before the founders left their jobs and became a fully-fledged fruit juice and smoothie business.

In an interview with Computer Weekly, Reed acknowledged the difficulties involved in setting up and growing a business, but added “I can’t think of a better country to be doing it in than the UK.”

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UK businesses set to grow in 2015, says report

December 11 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

The latest BDO Business Trends Report predicts continued growth for UK businesses in 2015.

According to the monthly Business Trends Indices report from accountants and business advisers BDO, UK businesses should sustain steady growth next year.

Order books for UK businesses showed sustained growth as the BDO Output Index remained at 103.2 in November, unchanged from October. Both the services and the manufacturing sub-indexes remain above the long-term average trend rate, pointing towards moderate growth in the early months of 2015.

The report suggests a GDP growth rate of two to 2.5 per cent during this quarter and the next.

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UK economy to gain £90bn boost from flexible working, says report

December 11 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

A new report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) shows flexible working could improve productivity.

The results of their survey show that 83 per cent of knowledge workers (such as engineers, doctors, and lawyers) would make use of flexible working options if they were available.

If eight out of ten of such workers adopted flexible working practices they could add 0.7 per cent of GDP to the UK economy, or £11.5 billion, with improved use of their time.

The survey of 1,272 participants was commissioned by the mobile workspace solutions company Citrix.

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UK green start-ups look east to boost Chinese trade

December 11 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

A group of start-ups involved in the low carbon energy sector aim to boost Chinese trade with visit.

A delegation from companies in the low carbon energy sector and identified by UK Trade & Investment West Midlands will soon visit China in a bid to increase trade links with the country.

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Driverless cars to be tested in four UK cities in 2015

December 11 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Driverless cars to be trialled in London, Bristol, Coventry & Milton Keynes.

In the recent Autumn Statement, autonomous and driverless cars were given the green light for trials.

South-east London’s Greenwich and Bristol will each host its own project, while Coventry and Milton Keynes will share a third.

The public body Innovate UK has announced that the trials will last between 18 and 36 months, beginning in January 2015.

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Bank of England leaves interest rates unchanged at record low

December 10 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

In a widely expected move, the Bank of England (BOE) has left interest rates unchanged at a record low for the 70th month running.

Since there was no statement, many will now turn to the minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on December 17th to fully understand the decision.

At the previous meeting of the MPC, two members of the committee voted to raise rates due to worries over the building of inflationary pressures.

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Guidelines on importing for SMEs

December 10 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

The current SME focus is on exports, but there is little guidance for firms wanting to import for the first time.

Small and medium-sized firms are well supported in the exports arena. However, those wishing to start importing may feel left out or confused by the government literature currently available.

Before venturing headfirst into the market, you may like to consider the following important points to help you succeed.

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London-based game-maker raises further £4.5m in funding

December 10 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Space Ape hailed as London’s answer to Rovio, creator of Angry Birds.

Space Ape Games, a London-based mobile games studio has received £4.5 million of investment from investors in a third round of funding.

Following global success of their combat adventure game, Samurai Siege, the studio received further funding from investors that have previously backed successes such as Spotify and Facebook. The latest round of funding was led by Northzone but also included existing investors like Accel Partners, Initial Capital and Connect Ventures.

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Small Business Saturday was ‘a no brainer’, says Shadow Business Secretary

December 09 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Chuka Umunna, Labour’s shadow business secretary, helped bring Small Business Saturday (SBS) to the UK.

Speaking in an interview with Startups, a website aimed at entrepreneurs and small firms, Chuka Umunna detailed how he dreamt up the idea to help bring SBS to UK shores.

The event made its second annual appearance on December 6th, and is designed to promote independent retailers.

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Manufacturing boosted by domestic demand despite weak exports

December 09 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Domestic demand boosts manufacturing activity in the UK despite weak exports to Eurozone.

Further indications of the UK’s strengthening recovery were found in Markit’s recent Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI). It showed that manufacturing activity in the UK continued to expand, hitting a four-month high of 53.5 in November.

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Barclays launches face-to-face video banking

December 08 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Barclays has made a major online move by launching new video banking services.

The Barclays Video Banking venture is aimed to retain the personality of the retail branch, whilst allowing customers to save time and fit banking into their busy schedules.

The project is a ground-breaking, round-the-clock video service that allows customers to skip the high street trip but still speak face-to-face with advisors.

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SMEs optimistic about international trade next year

December 08 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Exporters from small to mid-sized businesses believe 2015 will bring them more international business, according to new research.

According to Open to Export, an exporter’s forum backed by the government, small and medium-sized enterprises are optimistic about opportunities overseas in 2015.

After trade data from the Office for National Statistics showed that UK recovery is not being driven by exports, initiatives like Export Week were set up to increase the amount of international trade in the UK.

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Cloud services look to SME sector for investment

December 05 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

The SME sector in the UK is set to drive growth in cloud services, according to research from cloud services provider BCSG (Business Centric Services Group).

Research from Business Centric Services Group (BCSG) revealed that 72 per cent of SMEs have plans to embrace the cloud by 2017, adding to the numerous businesses that already have cloud services in use.

This indicates that businesses are realising the potential that the cloud offers in terms of time-saving and the ability to access files regardless of location.

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Entrepreneurs Index: UK should give more support to small businesses

December 05 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

According to a report from Barclays Bank and the Business Growth Fund (BGF), small businesses require more government support to realise their full potential.

The latest Entrepreneurs Index from Barclays Bank and BGF highlights the need for the UK to do as much as it can to encourage SMEs, as it shows evidence that the desire to start a business is becoming more widespread across the nation.

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Major UK companies to contribute more in tax, says report

December 04 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

PwC has found that the UK’s biggest businesses will see their tax hit record levels this year.

PwC has highlighted the contribution of big business to the UK economy with new figures from their latest Total Tax Contribution survey. The survey shows that Britain’s largest companies paid the highest tax revenues ever recorded in 2014: a reminder that big businesses make a significant contribution to the UK economy.

PwC’s 100 Group, comprised of the finance directors of large companies and some multinationals operating in the UK, revealed that they have collectively paid some £80 billion this year. This is a rise of £2 billion from 2013.

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London tops world rankings for graduate recruitment

December 04 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Data from Quacquarelli Symonds (QS ) shows that London is one of the world’s top cities for student recruitment.

New research from QS has shown that London has scored the maximum of 100 points in the category of employer activity in QS’ Best Student Cities 2015 report. The finding was based on global employers identifying the institutions they prefer to recruit from, indicating the strength and depth of the university sector.

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UK small businesses receive boosts from Autumn Statement

December 04 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced a lending package worth nearly £1 billion to boost bank lending to small and medium sized enterprises.

In the Autumn Statement, George Osborne confirmed plans to provide a boost to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Furthermore, numerous new tax incentives and breaks aimed at promoting smaller firms were announced.

The Treasury has promised to invest in fast growing SMEs with £400 million of Enterprise Capital Funds, which are government-backed venture capital funds. It also guaranteed that new bank lending will be increased by up to £500 million.

George Osborne, the UK chancellor, said: “Now that credit conditions for households and large businesses have improved, it is right that we focus the scheme’s firepower on small businesses, which are the lifeblood of our economy.”

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November News Round-Up

December 03 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Welcome to this month’s news round-up of all the major stories that have kept us talking in November.

 

Non-financial businesses worth £1 trillion to UK economy

Figures from the ONS showed that the non-financial business economy contributes £1 trillion to the UK, when measuring approximate Gross Value Added (aGVA) at basic prices. In addition, the annual aGVA growth of 8.1 per cent was at its highest since 1997, and the service sector accounted for over half of this record figure.

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Black Friday shopping spree exceeds expectations

December 03 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Analysts predict sales will beat Cyber Monday’s as Black Friday surpasses media hype.

According to IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group), sales through retailers’ websites on Black Friday amounted to a staggering £810 million – well above the forecasted £555 million. When the full data is released, stores may well find that this figure is far above Cyber Monday’s results.

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UK employers encouraged to offer flexible hours to boost business

December 02 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Employers must offer flexible working hours to attract the best workers.

Recent data from YouGov has highlighted that around four tenths of those surveyed would feel uncomfortable asking about flexible options.

The survey of 1,300 people showed that both men and women were equally unlikely to broach the subject, even though 37 per cent of respondents had difficulty juggling work and family life.

To maintain health in the workplace, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) recommends that businesses should adopt new values that promote flexible working.

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Recruitment in professional sector rises, says report

December 02 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Hiring intentions remain high in professional services, reports CBI.

According to the latest data from the Confederation for British Industry (CBI), employment in the business and professional sector rose at its quickest rate in seven years during the three months to November.

In total, 49 per cent of firms in these fields said they had expanded their headcounts, compared to just 7 per cent downsizing: leaving a record high balance of 42 per cent.

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After Black Friday, Cyber Monday kicks off December online retail spree

December 01 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Online retailers to make an impressive start to the festive shopping period.

Closely following the chaos of Black Friday comes an equally booming Cyber Monday, with analysts predicting £650 million of sales over the course of the day.

The run-up to Christmas is often the highlight of the retail year, as consumers usually go on a month-long shopping spree. This year, it is forecast to be worth around £36.5 billion; and on Cyber Monday, internet industry body IMRG has predicted that 25 million shoppers will spend up to £451,000 per minute.

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Britain now has more jobs than jobseekers, says report

December 01 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Salary growth outstrips inflation, but the number of vacancies has outpaced jobseekers for the first time since the recession.

Evidence of Britain’s booming labour market was published in the latest UK job market report from Adzuna, the online recruitment website. For the first time since the recession, the number of advertised vacancies was larger than the number of people seeking employment.

In October, Adzuna found over 930,000 jobs advertised, an increase of 3.4 per cent compared to September, and a staggering 25.1 per cent more than the amount advertised a year ago.

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