Monday 13 January 2020 5:00 pm

Tech confidence holds firm ahead of upcoming EU exit

Confidence among British tech startups remained steady in the final quarter of 2019, as companies awaited the outcome of the General Election and stood firm ahead of the UK’s upcoming exit from the EU.

Overall business confidence rose slightly, as 74 per cent of respondents to Studio Graphene’s Tech Tracker survey said they were confident or very confident their turnover will increase in the next 12 months — a rise of one per cent from three months earlier.

In the three months to the end of December, 77 per cent of startups said they intend to hire more staff, falling two per cent quarter on quarter. However 67 per cent said they hope to raise new investment, a rise of one per cent.

Read more: Fintech boom sends central London office takeup soaring

The biggest issue facing startups continued to be hiring the right talent, with the majority of business leaders voicing concern that Brexit will make it hiring more difficult.

Sixty-nine per cent of entrepreneurs said they would support Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s proposal of introducing a points-based immigration system.

However less than half of those polled said they were confident the UK will remain a leading tech hub following Brexit.

Read more: Top entrepreneurs call for reform to boost UK startup scene

Studio Graphene founder Ritam Gandhi said: “It’s encouraging to see how the confidence levels of startups have remained resolutely high throughout the past 12 months, despite the numerous challenges.

“Clearly, though, access to skilled tech talent is a major concern — the vast majority intend to hire more people in 2020, but they also foresee this being a potential barrier to growth. The new Conservative majority government must work together with the tech industry to address this issue and calm startups’ fears around Brexit.”