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Migration is vital to the future of UK fintech

Fintech in the UK continues to outpace the rest of the world. But Brexit has raised questions about its future, especially when it comes to recruiting new tech talent. 

Though I firmly believe that the UK will remain in the top spot, I do think that the government needs to ensure that entrepreneur migrants can come to the UK unhindered. After all, migrants and refugees such as Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia, Ning Li and Will Shu have powered the UK economy through good times and bad. 

Migrants are powering the startup ecosystem in the UK

In the UK you get the feeling that migrants from across the globe play a key role in the startup ecosystem. There are no definitive figures to back this up across the board, but anyone who has worked with startup teams or entrepreneurs, in London at least, knows that a large proportion have come to the UK from other nations. This fluidity and movement of talent keep the ideas and innovations flowing across borders.   

The melting pot of ideas has led to the creation of some outstanding young businesses, and, consequently, research reports down the years have highlighted the benefits of migration to the UK economy. The most recent of these reports, by The Entrepreneurs Network, uncovered some startling statistics. Nine out of the 14 UK Unicorns have at least one foreign-born co-founder, and in fact just under 50% of the top 100 UK fastest-growing startups have at least one immigrant co-founder.

Migrant fintech entrepreneurs are vital to the industry  

A study of more than 200 undergraduates done by Vienna University found that not only did studying abroad help entrepreneurs identify profitable opportunities, but cross-cultural experiences may also help stimulate creativity and problem-solving skills. These are certainly the skills that help build great tech businesses. 

It would be no surprise then that living in a different country may also help entrepreneurs build some really outstanding fintechs, and in fact this has proved to be the case in the UK, where some of the fastest growing are immigrant co-founded including TransferWise, Monzo, OakNorth, Revolut,Onfido and iwoca.

But Brexit may yet still put a spanner in the works. If the UK crashes out with a no-deal Brexit, as looks more likely by the day, what steps must the government take to help ensure the future of fintech? 

The government can make the right choices

Despite reassurances and verbal guarantees, it’s still not entirely clear how all types of migrant will be treated post-Brexit. Students for example are key to the startup ecosystem in the UK, and of course elsewhere in the world. In the US the facts are unassailable: more than 50% of the foreign-born founders of American engineering and tech businesses went to the US, initially, to study. 

One way to ensure that Brexit does not impact on the ability of immigrant students and young people to start new fintechs – or in fact encourage them to just take these ideas home with them after they graduate - is to address the visa requirements and reinstate the right for international students to work in the UK for up to two years after graduation. This is not an outlandish suggestion and most people recognise that since this right was removed in 2012 the UK has been impacted. 

Of course UK fintech is still healthy and thriving, and just this month a KPMG report found that investment into the sector is growing at record rates, with $3.06bn of new VC and PE funding in the first six months of this year, compared with $3.42bn for the whole of 2018. 

So we must look on the bright side and trust that solutions will be forthcoming from the government. If they’re not, entrepreneurs will doubtless still find a way to live and work in the UK, but the government should remember these figures not make it any harder for migrant entrepreneurs than it needs to be. 


Migration is vital to the future of UK fintech

Fintech in the UK continues to outpace the rest of the world. But Brexit has raised questions about its future, especially when it comes to recruiting new tech talent.

Though I firmly believe that the UK will remain in the top spot, I do think that the government needs to ensure that entrepreneur migrants can come to the UK unhindered. After all, migrants and refugees such as Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia, Ning Li and Will Shu have powered the UK economy through good times and bad.

Migrants are powering the startup ecosystem in the UK

In the UK you get the feeling that migrants from across the globe play a key role in the startup ecosystem. There are no definitive figures to back this up across the board, but anyone who has worked with startup teams or entrepreneurs, in London at least, knows that a large proportion have come to the UK from other nations. This fluidity and movement of talent keep the ideas and innovations flowing across borders.   

The melting pot of ideas has led to the creation of some outstanding young businesses, and, consequently, research reports down the years have highlighted the benefits of migration to the UK economy. The most recent of these reports, by The Entrepreneurs Network, uncovered some startling statistics. Nine out of the 14 UK Unicorns have at least one foreign-born co-founder, and in fact just under 50% of the top 100 UK fastest-growing startups have at least one immigrant co-founder.

Migrant fintech entrepreneurs are vital to the industry  

A study of more than 200 undergraduates done by Vienna University found that not only did studying abroad help entrepreneurs identify profitable opportunities, but cross-cultural experiences may also help stimulate creativity and problem-solving skills. These are certainly the skills that help build great tech businesses.

Migration is vital to the future of UK fintech

Fintech in the UK continues to outpace the rest of the world. But Brexit has raised questions about its future, especially when it comes to recruiting new tech talent. 

Though I firmly believe that the UK will remain in the top spot, I do think that the government needs to ensure that entrepreneur migrants can come to the UK unhindered. After all, migrants and refugees such as Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia, Ning Li and Will Shu have powered the UK economy through good times and bad. 

Migrants are powering the startup ecosystem in the UK

In the UK you get the feeling that migrants from across the globe play a key role in the startup ecosystem. There are no definitive figures to back this up across the board, but anyone who has worked with startup teams or entrepreneurs, in London at least, knows that a large proportion have come to the UK from other nations. This fluidity and movement of talent keep the ideas and innovations flowing across borders.   

The melting pot of ideas has led to the creation of some outstanding young businesses, and, consequently, research reports down the years have highlighted the benefits of migration to the UK economy. The most recent of these reports, by The Entrepreneurs Network, uncovered some startling statistics. Nine out of the 14 UK Unicorns have at least one foreign-born co-founder, and in fact just under 50% of the top 100 UK fastest-growing startups have at least one immigrant co-founder.

Migrant fintech entrepreneurs are vital to the industry  

A study of more than 200 undergraduates done by Vienna University found that not only did studying abroad help entrepreneurs identify profitable opportunities, but cross-cultural experiences may also help stimulate creativity and problem-solving skills. These are certainly the skills that help build great tech businesses. 

It would be no surprise then that living in a different country may also help entrepreneurs build some really outstanding fintechs, and in fact this has proved to be the case in the UK, where some of the fastest growing are immigrant co-founded including TransferWise, Monzo, OakNorth, Revolut,Onfido and iwoca.

But Brexit may yet still put a spanner in the works. If the UK crashes out with a no-deal Brexit, as looks more likely by the day, what steps must the government take to help ensure the future of fintech? 

The government can make the right choices

Despite reassurances and verbal guarantees, it’s still not entirely clear how all types of migrant will be treated post-Brexit. Students for example are key to the startup ecosystem in the UK, and of course elsewhere in the world. In the US the facts are unassailable: more than 50% of the foreign-born founders of American engineering and tech businesses went to the US, initially, to study. 

One way to ensure that Brexit does not impact on the ability of immigrant students and young people to start new fintechs – or in fact encourage them to just take these ideas home with them after they graduate - is to address the visa requirements and reinstate the right for international students to work in the UK for up to two years after graduation. This is not an outlandish suggestion and most people recognise that since this right was removed in 2012 the UK has been impacted. 

Of course UK fintech is still healthy and thriving, and just this month a KPMG report found that investment into the sector is growing at record rates, with $3.06bn of new VC and PE funding in the first six months of this year, compared with $3.42bn for the whole of 2018. 

So we must look on the bright side and trust that solutions will be forthcoming from the government. If they’re not, entrepreneurs will doubtless still find a way to live and work in the UK, but the government should remember these figures not make it any harder for migrant entrepreneurs than it needs to be. 

It would be no surprise then that living in a different country may also help entrepreneurs build some really outstanding fintechs, and in fact this has proved to be the case in the UK, where some of the fastest growing are immigrant co-founded including TransferWise, Monzo, OakNorth, Revolut,Onfido and iwoca.

But Brexit may yet still put a spanner in the works. If the UK crashes out with a no-deal Brexit, as looks more likely by the day, what steps must the government take to help ensure the future of fintech?

The government can make the right choices

Despite reassurances and verbal guarantees, it’s still not entirely clear how all types of migrant will be treated post-Brexit. Students for example are key to the startup ecosystem in the UK, and of course elsewhere in the world. In the US the facts are unassailable: more than 50% of the foreign-born founders of American engineering and tech businesses went to the US, initially, to study.

One way to ensure that Brexit does not impact on the ability of immigrant students and young people to start new fintechs – or in fact encourage them to just take these ideas home with them after they graduate - is to address the visa requirements and reinstate the right for international students to work in the UK for up to two years after graduation. This is not an outlandish suggestion and most people recognise that since this right was removed in 2012 the UK has been impacted.

Of course UK fintech is still healthy and thriving, and just this month a KPMG report found that investment into the sector is growing at record rates, with $3.06bn of new VC and PE funding in the first six months of this year, compared with $3.42bn for the whole of 2018.

So we must look on the bright side and trust that solutions will be forthcoming from the government. If they’re not, entrepreneurs will doubtless still find a way to live and work in the UK, but the government should remember these figures not make it any harder for migrant entrepreneurs than it needs to be.

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