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Is UK still the top European country for start-ups?

The accessibility of public funding and the amount of country’s investments in innovations and research can be important factors when deciding where to base your future start-up company. Moreover, they somehow indicate the overall attitude of the government towards the entrepreneurs. It is not easy to find some summarizing information on this topic and that’s why we at hDock42 did a little research.

Our expectation was that the UK, being the major hub for tech start-ups in Europe, should be one of the top countries in R&D investments spending. The assumption proved to be wrong  - at least according to the latest news release of the Eurostat on the R&D expenditures in the EU (see table below).¹

The message is clear: Countries like Sweden, Denmark, Germany or Austria are trying really hard to keep the pace in research & innovation, relatively to their GDP.

And what about start-up grants, specifically? If we take a closer look at the available public grants and governmental programmes for micro-enterprises, the numbers are suddenly much lower. In the table below, you can see that countries like Germany and Austria still seem to be having an edge on the UK. These countries have recently started several business funding initiatives² ³ and are trying their best to promote them anywhere it is possible. Press releases are being published and foreign founders are being lured to base their companies here.


Sure, in the UK there are organizations like Innovate UK, the British Business Bank with their Start Up Loans program, or the SBRI which supports the development of new medical technologies, but obviously it is not public funding what really makes the United Kingdom stand out in the statistics.

What we at hDock42 value about the UK is especially the relatively low bureaucracy, the presence of venture capital funds and the lively start-up scene in London. However, we have to emphasise that we hope that whole Brexit situation will be solved quickly and the British government will start concentrating on other things again. And one of them should be how to make the Great Britain stand out again among its European competitors as the best location to start a business.

We think that the UK is still a great place for start-ups. We are just not sure if we will be able to say the same, let’s say in one year, too. Do you agree with us? Or do you think that we may have omitted some important figures? Let us know in the discussion!

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Published by: in Research