Final Call For Entries For UK’s Top Tech Innovators As Sector Gears Up For Growth
Tech companies are more optimistic about near-term growth than at any time since the second quarter of 2014, according to KPMG’s latest ‘Tech Monitor’ index of UK tech sector performance.
The findings come as the deadline nears for the firm’s annual search for the UK’s top tech innovator. Entries for the Global Tech Innovator competition close on 7th May, where scale-ups through to early-stage accelerated growth businesses can pitch their innovations and present their ambitions to panels of local and global industry experts.
The competition has uncovered a host of tech giants in recent years, including previous winners Echo and What3Words.
Shortlisted businesses will be provided with exclusive networking opportunities among industry experts, their peers and other tech innovators. The winning UK Tech Innovator will progress to the Global Tech Innovator final at Web Summit 2021 in Lisbon in November, where they will compete on the global stage.
KPMG’s Tech Monitor reports strong confidence that business activity will rebound swiftly after the growth headwinds of the national lockdown and Brexit-related uncertainty begin to ease. As a result, tech sector firms boosted their output and added to their payroll numbers in Q1, with the pace of staff hiring the quickest for nearly two years.
Commenting on the competition, Nisha Sharma, M&A director for KPMG in the North West, said:
“The UK technology sector attracts investment and talent from across the globe and it’s an essential contributor to the health of our economy. Over the years, this competition has uncovered some of the most exciting and fast growth businesses that the UK has to offer, such as Babylon Health, and VividQ.
“We are very excited that the competition is now going global, as we look to support the continued growth of the top tech innovators who are either hidden gems in our huge tech ecosystem or leading the way in disruption and innovative thinking. Whether they are tech-enabled, tech-led or tech-driven, we’re inviting our unicorns of tomorrow to consider this extraordinary opportunity to take their businesses to the next level and get access to vital networks that no fast-growing tech company will want to miss.”
Tech Monitor Findings
The index measuring UK tech employment rose from 51.5 in Q4 2020 to 51.8 in Q1, which indicated the strongest rate of job creation since Q2 2019.
A key factor driving employment growth across the tech sector was stronger optimism towards the 12-month business outlook. At 77.3 in Q1, the index measuring growth expectations rose from 74.7 in Q4 and hit its highest level since Q2 2014. Optimism was stronger than in all other parts of the UK private sector, except for hotels and restaurants – many of which have not been trading for 9 of the last 12 months.
At 48.3 in Q1, the headline Business Activity Index dropped from 51.5 in Q4 2020 and signalled an overall loss of recovery momentum since the end of last year.
The third national lockdown, combined with Brexit disruption, drove a substantial drop-in business activity during January. Although growth emerged in February and March, the initial decline weighed heavily on the index reading for Q1.
Stricter government stringency measures and subsequent disruption to clients’ business operations drove a slight reduction in new order intakes at tech firms during Q1.
Some survey respondents mentioned that export sales to European clients were adversely impacted by uncertainly after the end of the Brexit transition period. Encouragingly, monthly data showed that total new orders returned to growth in March as the vaccine rollout and roadmap for reopening the economy helped to boost demand.
Rising costs for staff, transportation and electronic components led to the sharpest increase in tech sector input prices for nearly four years in Q1.
Technology firms sought to alleviate the squeeze on margins from higher costs, with prices charged raised at the fastest pace since Q2 2019.