The UK Government’s tech ambitions get a welcome boost today with the announcement by Salesforce that it’s got big spending plans in place for the country as it heads into Brexit.
The company says that it plans to invest in excess of $2.5 billion over the next five years. That comes on top of April’s announcement of a $2.2 billion investment into the French market, a plan that was announced to coincide with the visit of President Macron to the Whitehouse.
Today’s UK spending numbers co-incides with British Prime Minister Theresa May hosting a tech roundtable at 10 Downing Street, part of the ongoing events as part of London Tech Week this week.
In a statement, the Prime Minister - more usually sighted on the Microsoft UK Campus like so many of her ministers - says:
Salesforce offers a wonderful example of the benefits a successful technology company can bring to the UK economy, and I welcome their continued investment which will create interesting and high-skilled jobs for our workforce. The UK is already home to some of the world’s most innovative technology companies, and we will continue to drive investment in the sector through our modern Industrial Strategy.
The UK was Salesforce’s first regional office in Europe and has become a valuable market for the firm. CEO Marc Benioff noted in his own comments:
The UK is Salesforce's largest market in Europe and our commitment to driving growth, innovation and customer success in the region has never been stronger. With this significant investment, we are well positioned to pursue the incredible opportunity for Salesforce, our customers and partners in the British market.
According to the last year’s Salesforce Economy report from analyst firm IDC, the UK is expected to generate more than $65.6 billion related to Salesforce between 2017 and 2022. Salesforce activities will also account for 114,545 direct jobs and 214,615 indirect ones. In comparison, France is expected to generate $24.4 billion over the same period, with 37,115 direct jobs and 108,923 indirect ones.
With Brexit looming and enormous uncertainties still unresolved around issues such as sourcing skills and cross-border data flows, the UK Government has been pitching for U.S. tech inward investment in a big way. Last week, Amazon announced the creation of 2,500 new roles, while Apple and Google have also upped their stakes in the UK economy. (Facebook has as well, but ministers don’t seem quite so keen to publicise that - for some reason...)
According to official stats, in 2017 UK tech businesses attracted $7.8 billion of funding, almost double the amount received in 2016, compared to France and Germany’s combined total of $6 billio
To keep that going and to try to tackle some of the Brexit concerns, the UK Government announced a package of measures, including a new Start-Up Visa for entrepreneurs to replace a visa route which was exclusively for graduates, opening it up to “talented business founders”.
Prime Minister May says:
The measures we are announcing today will allow innovative British start-ups to invest in their future – and in the UK – by hiring more skilled people, expanding their business and exporting their expertise across the world. It’s a great time to be in tech in the UK, and our modern Industrial Strategy will drive continued investment, ensuring the nation flourishes in the industries of the future and creating more high-paying jobs
A welcome vote of confidence by Salesforce in a national market in which it has flourished. You can read more about the Prime Minster’s tech roundtable over at diginomica/government across the day.