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UK named as best G20 country for starting a digital business

William Turvill
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The UK lagged in certain categories, such as access to finance, coming in ninth (Source: Getty)

The UK has been named as the best G20 country for ease of starting a digital business.

Britain scored the highest marks for digital business environment – which includes regulation such as recruitment practices, tax frameworks, time taken to start a business and legal efficiency – in accountancy firm EY’s G20 Digital Entrepreneurship Barometer, which looked at five categories.

“It’s great to see the UK leading the way for supporting digital startups,” said Radhika Chadwick, partner for digital government at EY. “Taking the hassle out of getting a business off the ground boosts the creation of innovative and dynamic businesses, which drive economic growth in the UK.

Read more: This is the reason for the UK's dearth of digital media unicorns

“Although vocal on the digital and startup agenda, the government itself cannot be left behind. Bringing the same digital environment into Whitehall will ensure greater savings are delivered for the taxpayer through better use of technology as well as the public reaping the benefits of faster and more efficient public services.”

Britain came second to the US in terms of digital knowledge base and information and communications technology market.

But the UK lagged behind in other categories in the barometer, coming in ninth place for access to finance, seventh for availability of digital skills and entrepreneurial education and fourth for fostering an entrepreneurial culture.

Read more: 10,000 London startups handed government funding since 2012

Chadwick added: “Promoting entrepreneurialism through TV programmes such as Dragon’s Den, as well as greater publicising of startup funds for young people will go a long way in giving a leg-up to wealth creators of the future.”

How the UK fared

Category Top UK position
Access to finance Canada 9th
Entrepreneurial culture United States 4th
Digital business environment UK 1st
Digital skills and entrepreneurial education United States 7th
Digital knowledge base and ICT market United States 2nd

The report also made a series of recommendations on how G20 nations can better support young entrepreneurs.

Bjorn Conway, head of UK government and public sector at EY, said: “With Brexit on the horizon, the UK government, more so than the other G20, will be thinking about how the economy can be set up to succeed in this digital age.

“By understanding the issues that young entrepreneurs face, policy can help play a critical role in turning digital disruption into a powerful opportunity.

“Supporting an entrepreneurial environment that encourages our young people to establish, grow and scale their businesses will ensure the UK continues to be competitive on the world stage into the future.”

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