Cindy Rose

Microsoft UK CEO Cindy Rose to help lead Government study into competitiveness of UK tech sector

The Chief Executive of Microsoft UK will help lead a Government study into the competitiveness of the UK’s technology sector, to ensure the country remains one of best places in the world to start and grow a digital business.

Cindy Rose also held talks with Prime Minister Theresa May today at the launch of London Tech Week as part of a roundtable involving 14 technology companies, including Google, Amazon and Alibaba.

Their aim was to “discuss opportunities to fully harness the power of technology to enhance competitiveness, boost the economy and tackle societal challenges”, the Government said.

Rose said the study, which will also be led by Suzanne Ashman from LocalGlobe, Stephen Coleman from CodeBase and Avid Larizadeh Duggan from Kobalt, was critical to the future growth of the UK.

“The UK has a long and successful history of creating and embracing new technology and is ideally placed to capitalise on the AI opportunity for economic growth and societal impact,” she said. “We have many of the elements we need to succeed: a thriving start-up scene, a vibrant investment community, cloud-first government policy, a great pool of UK and global talent and an enduring spirit of innovation.

Houses of parliament and Big Ben

More than a third of Europe’s fastest-growing technology companies are now based in Britain

“But for the UK to be a world leader in the 4th industrial revolution, we will need to recognise and address a number of significant domestic and global challenges and lay the foundations for continued technology innovation in decades to come. That’s why this Review of UK Digital Competitiveness is so timely and critical to our future prosperity.”

The UK tech sector has produced one unicorn company each month over the past year, according to new figures from Dealroom and Tech Nation. To date, the UK has created 72 tech companies worth at least $1 billion – substantially higher than any other country in Europe – while digital start-ups have raised a record $4.8 billion in venture capital investment in the first five months of 2019.

More than a third of Europe’s fastest-growing technology companies are now based in Britain, following $35 billion of investment in the sector between 2013 and 2018.

The Prime Minister welcomed the figures during her talk today but said there was more work to do to ensure the UK remained competitive.

“We are one of the best places in the world to start and grow a tech business,” May said. “British Tech is growing over one and a half times faster than the rest of the economy, adding more than £130 billion pounds to our economy every year. But if we are going to maintain our position as a global leader, our challenge is how we develop British Tech and make it even better. We want this to be the place everyone thinks of – and comes to – first when they want to develop their world-changing tech ideas. This is a challenge shared between industry and Government.

Prime Minister Theresa May addresses London Tech Week

Prime Minister Theresa May addresses London Tech Week

“Today, as we sit on the cusp of the next great industrial revolution, we have the opportunity to work together and ensure that the advances we see transform our world for the better, and for the benefit of everyone. Government will back you all the way.”

During her speech at Here East in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, May announced a £1.2 billion investment in the UK, including £153 million from Government and £205 million from industry to develop quantum computing and speed up the creation of new drugs.

May also announced that 2,500 places will be made available on AI and data conversion courses, to equip technology-driven businesses and people across the country with the skills they need. This will include 1,000 government-funded scholarships to open up opportunities for people from all backgrounds.

London Tech Week, of which Microsoft is a headline sponsor, is a series of events held across the capital every year that celebrate UK’s technology sector.