Published on in Fujitsu and SMEs

richard_holway_2Fujitsu are committed to the UK’s future growth, and to working with SMEs to help give our customers the agility and innovation they expect.  So we’re delighted to feature this guest blog from Richard Holway, Chair of leading UK analyst firm TechMarketView, explaining why SMEs are so important to the UK Technology Industry – and presenting an exciting opportunity for UK SMEs…

Back in the mid-1960s, when I started in computing learning PLAN and COBOL on an ICT 1905, the UK had a vibrant tech scene. Youngsters in their 20s like Philip Hughes and Philip Swinstead were starting Software & IT Services (SITS) companies like Logica and Systems Designers.

In the 1980s, when I had reached my 30s, I set up my own technology analysis company to rival the big US concerns. My first report on the UK SITS industry showed that 9 out of 10 of the suppliers were independent UK-headquartered SITS companies. Since then practically all of those companies have been acquired and the latest rankings from TechMarketView show only 2 of the top ten being UK-headquartered.  Even then, SITS was not their main revenue earner.

In a recent major talk I gave in the City, I said that I believe the UK tech scene is more buoyant now than at any time since the 1960s. Once again ‘youngsters in their 20s’ are setting up new companies. Not just in London and Cambridge but all round the UK from Aberdeen to Manchester to Belfast and it’s these small companies that have the power to disrupt the older established players.

lbbTechMarketView has always been keen to support smaller UK-headquartered tech companies. In November 2012 we launched our TechMarketView Little British Battler (LBB) programme. Since then some 300 privately held software and services companies have applied to join the ranks of the Little British Battler brigade. And the opportunity to apply for our sixth event is available right now until 6th March – so read on!

The tech scene today is moving faster than at anytime in its history. The move to the cloud and SaaS in particular is disrupting the business models of most of the large players. But smaller companies, unencumbered by legacy on-premise systems and the demands of their customers, are literally coming to eat their lunch.

That’s why the resurgence in smaller tech companies in the UK at the moment is so exciting. We are building an ecosystem where larger suppliers need agile, smaller partners. Where large customers, in private and public sectors, need the security and experience of the larger suppliers but with all the agility of the smaller companies too.

I have been asked on many occasions why the UK has never produced a Google or Microsoft. It’s my view that as long as we have a vibrant tech SME community, which works cooperatively with the larger players, it doesn’t really matter. As long as the entrepreneur spirit, so alive in the US, can be engendered here, we will all gain.

After years of large suppliers not understanding that they have to treat their smaller suppliers well, years of Government believing they can do without those large suppliers and years where effort seems to have gone unsuccessfully into building large UK players, things are at last changing. And that’s why I believe that the UK technology industry is entering its most successful, exciting period since the 1960s.

So what’s the deal with the TechMarketView LBB Programme? Well, of the 300 companies that have applied to become a Little British Battler, 60 companies, all punching above their weight in their respective markets, have so far been selected to participate in the programme. It’s a chance for these rising stars to put their business plans in front of our expert analysts.

The prize is not only the invaluable opinion and advice from our research directors but also a write-up in UKHotViews and an appearance in the LBB report, putting you in front of 20,000 top tech executives and investors. Exposure like that is literally priceless and has resulted in some stunning outcomes.

The sixth TechMarketView Little British Battler Event will be held in London on Wednesday 22nd April 2015. Twelve more companies will have the opportunity to share their aspirations, challenges and business plans, in confidential sessions with TechMarketView research directors and senior partners of MXC Capital, the tech focused, AIM quoted merchant bank that actively invests in and advises companies in the UK tech sector.

And as usual, it’s absolutely free.

To apply, just click here and fill in the registration form or for more information click here.

The deadline for registrations is Friday 6th March.

Should you have any questions, please email us at lbb@techmarketview.com.

(The TechMarketView Little British Battler Programme is run in partnership with MXC Capital, the tech focused, AIM quoted merchant bank that actively invests in and advises companies in the UK tech sector.)

Richard Holway MBE is chairman of TechMarketView LLP and member of the Prince’s Trust Advisory Board.

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