UK technology is expanding rapidly across regional borders, with the sector growing rapidly in all regions of the country. What started as a community around the Silicon Roundabout in East London now has talented, ambitious entrepreneurs coming forward from all over the UK, with tech unicorns in every region.

this growth this is exciting, but to remain competitive on the world stage we need to sell the UK’s technological leadership internationally – and not just on our shores.

There are many reasons why scaleups seek to go global; to reach more consumers, create global partnerships, prove scalability or open access to international venture capital. From all perspectives, international expansion is very beneficial for UK technology. It stimulates the economy, accelerates the growth of technology businesses and establishes our country as a world leader in science and technology.

However, international expansion is not without problems. The three biggest challenges for tech companies looking to grow globally are hiring talent overseas, securing new capital and closing the first deal.

Historically, these barriers have made it difficult for tech companies to enter new markets – with more than 1,000 tech companies recently signed up to our Growth platform collectively identifying international expansion as the number one scaling challenge.

Overcoming the challenges of global growth

But there’s a lot we can do to help overcome the mystery and difficulty that seems to guard international expansion – and in doing so, reduce risk and accelerate their entry into new markets.

Most valuable to technology companies growing internationally is access to networks that help companies make informed decisions about their go-to-market strategy. Peer-to-peer learning is critical as companies support each other to overcome common growth challenges and share experiences and interact with each other.

Having networks on the ground is also vital to companies’ international success, with companies emphasizing the usefulness of support from another entrepreneur operating in that market who already has a network to help them.

For example, we recently launched GBxAsia in Singapore; a brand new network for UK tech entrepreneurs (supported by the UK Government’s Digital Trade Network) that will bring together UK-based entrepreneurs and investors to make the most of opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.

As part of the wider GBx global network, it is the first of its kind to connect British technology across the world’s leading technology hubs – the UK, US and Asia.

Above all, the most important thing we can do is encourage companies to adopt a growth mindset from day one. International expansion isn’t just for big tech companies, and UK tech start-ups and scale-ups are now considering going international at an earlier stage than ever before.

Cambridge-based company Versed AI and Cardiff-based Yoello are examples of companies that Tech Nation supports to enter international markets. Although they are young, they have created their solutions with international customers in mind from the very beginning.

Scaling overseas can be intimidating. But with such great advantages, we need to cultivate strong ambitions for global growth, where international expansion is seen as an exciting and necessary challenge for tech start-ups and companies of all sizes across the UK.

Only then will we ensure the future success of British technology on the world stage.

Sam Evans is International Director A nation of technology.


For UK startups, a global growth mindset is crucial from day one

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