Read time: 3 mins        Added: 17/02/2023

Steve Harris, Head of Technology Sector SME & Mid Corporate, outlines some of the ways in which we are expanding our support for technology businesses across the country to help them succeed.

It’s an exciting time for the UK tech sector. Critical for the economy, it is now worth £1 trillion and employs three million people.

It's a significant target for investment too; during 2022 UK tech companies raised £24 billion – only the US and China attracted more in the same period.

And it’s growing roughly six times faster than other sectors in the UK.1

So it’s only natural that we’re expanding our support for technology businesses across the UK - because we want to see them succeed. And so, with this in mind, I wanted to take the opportunity to outline some of the ways in which we’ll be doing this. 

Regional and specialist support

We’ve seen how the tech sectors ingenuity is bringing prosperity to every corner of the UK.

To ensure that we’re able to support our customers wherever they are, and whatever their focus, we’re creating a national network of tech hubs across the UK, including London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Leeds, Cambridge and Cardiff.

This will enable us to offer dedicated expertise in specialist areas that are emerging across our regions and nations; from fintech in Scotland and renewables in the North East to health-tech in the North West, space in the South West and life sciences in the South East.

Every location will have a tech sector specialist who understands the industry and can work with clients to deliver the support they need from day one and scale it up as required throughout their life cycle.

Size doesn’t matter

We know there's a significant number of start-ups in the technology space, as well as large communities of scale ups, firms that are in their expansion phase, and more mature businesses. These tend to fall into two main categories.

First, there are those more traditional technology businesses that provide the infrastructure and software that other businesses need to operate, like software as a service and cybersecurity.

Then there are many new disruptive businesses emerging in areas like fintech, health-tech, big data, Artificial Intelligence and blockchain.

We know that being able to easily access our services, including effective online banking and mobile banking applications, is really important, while access to finance is critical for many. To meet the needs of these many and diverse businesses, our support for the tech sector ranges from providing basic banking and payment solutions, all the way through to more complex financing requirements. 

Navigating market changes

The amount of investment coming into the sector may be impressive, but that doesn't make tech firms immune to wider economic challenges. They have seen the same spiralling energy costs as everyone else, for example, at the same time as supply shortages of essential components.

Many businesses are also seeing a shortage of candidates for highly-skilled roles like software engineers, developers and data analysts, which is proving real headache for the industry and threatening to stall growth. 

Given these recruitment and retention challenges, it’s more important than ever for businesses to have attractive employee and director packages. That’s why we work with our customers to provide access to such benefits as corporate pensions, private wealth management and electric vehicles through salary sacrifice.

Accessing those investors that are willing to support rapid growth businesses is another critical challenge, and Bank of Scotland has longstanding relationships across those global equity and debt markets that are so important to support business growth – as well as the expertise to be able to support technology businesses throughout the process. What’s more, we can also help identify and manage any currency exposures that may arise, for example if investment comes from overseas or in another currency, helping to further protect our customers.

Expertise and insight

In order to be able to support the tech sector effectively, we strive to be the best for service, usability, understanding and supporting growth.

To ensure we can achieve this, we’ve built teams of dedicated tech sector specialist Relationship Managers with relevant industry knowledge and connections across the sector, who all receive training and industry insight from Megabuyte, the established and highly regarded industry specialist. As part of the wider Bank of Scotland, they’re able to tap into expert knowledge from across the organisation.

We also have a strong and close relationship with our captive Private Equity division, Lloyds Development Capital, which has a number of dynamic tech firms in its portfolio, and can support with private equity investment.

It all adds up to a comprehensive support service for UK tech firms, from start up to scale up and maturity. After all, we’re part of the UK tech scene and we're determined to keep playing our part in its ongoing success story.

1 UK tech sector retains number 1 spot in Europe and number 3 in world as sector. – Gov.UK

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