LSBF Blog - Global Matters
Since the introduction of Bitcoin in 2009, virtual currencies have rocketed in popularity.
The general public are beginning to accept digital payment into the mainstream. Bitcoin lets people anonymously transfer money around the world for free, and cuts out the need for a middle manRead more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.”Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.”Read more >>
Welcome to this month’s news round-up of all the major stories that have kept us talking in November.
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>