The launch of a new £375m scheme to drive investment in the UK’s most high growth, innovative and R&D intensive firms by the UK government, is the latest in a line of initiatives to super charge the UK’s post-pandemic economy.
But according to Daniel Homoki-Farkas, UK Managing Director of independent digital innovation agency Supercharge, argues that while this investment needs to be applauded, the businesses themselves may be hampered by a lack of in-house resources with the experience and expertise to implement innovative technologies that are available to properly realise their idea.
Homoki-Farkas advises: “Many UK-based scale-ups are sitting on piles of investor cash. They have a great idea that could transform an industry or revolutionise an aspect of how people live and work. However, the people behind this big idea – through no fault of their own – could be held back if they are relying solely on in-house skills to bring their vision to life and grow it into an effective, successful, and sustainable business.
“It is totally understandable if a scale-up decides to grow by hiring in-house digital skills and build and roll-out its solution in this way. But right now, there is a digital skills shortage and any competitive advantage you may have, might just evaporate if you take the DIY route.”
The Future Fund: Breakthrough scheme will see the government commit to £375million in funding for fast growing firms. To be eligible businesses must have commitments of 70% of an investment round from private investors with a track record of financing innovative companies.
“These are businesses that are potentially cash rich but people-resource poor, a digital skills problem that is going nowhere. While there are now schemes being rolled out such as the ‘scale-up visa” which will help fast growing tech companies hire talented staff from abroad, the short-term issue remains,” continued Homoki-Farkas. “We would argue strongly that if you want to maximise the return on investment on the funding you have, then look to a strategic partner that could turbo charge your app build and roll-out in the short term, and one that can be a long-term innovation partner.”
Business today relies on digital skills and that in turn has a direct impact on revenues, relationships, and reputations. When you cannot hire then the impact is immediately felt.
The focus for those cash-rich businesses must therefore be ensuring the digital skills they need align with business needs and therefore they need to bring in experts in the field to help guide, pivot and shape their needs.
“We would argue that to maintain your competitive edge – the reason a start-up or scale-up secured the funding in the first place – speed is essential, and businesses do not have the luxury of time. Call-in short-term resource and know-how from suppliers who can offer a helping hand to get your product over the line and use their skills over the long term once the short-term issue is resolved.
“It is arguable that what these innovative enterprises need first and foremost is a partner that can help drive transformation, help identify what tech is needed, and help implement development programs that will deliver the growth and success they want. In some cases I would go as far as to say that start-ups looking for funding from the VC community can and do give comfort to potential investors knowing they have a strategic partner in place to supercharge their product development process,” concluded Homoki-Farkas.
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