UK manufacturing sees strong growth
UK manufacturing output grew by 1% in February from January, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said. The rise – driven by pharmaceuticals, transport equipment, food, beverages and tobacco, – was the biggest since September, and ahead of forecasts. The year-on-year figure saw output 3.8% higher than in the same month of 2013. Output now stands at its highest level in more than two-and-a-half years, with companies reporting good trading conditions, both at home and in overseas markets. Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at the EEF, the manufacturers’ organization stated, “all manufacturing indicators are lining up for a strong first-quarter growth rate, highlighting that industry remains a vital cog in the UK’s continuing recovery.”
Is the UK really the ideal gateway to Europe?
Within the EU, there are just two countries that aren’t committed by treaty obligations to ever joining the Euro – Denmark and the UK. Both retain sovereignty over their currencies, enabling each to react flexibly to changing market conditions. Those are huge ticks in the box for any inward investment. Both have highly educated workforces, stable political systems and robust legal systems. Denmark scores over the UK in some respects – for example, its GDP per capita is greater, its indigenous population is multi-lingual – but it loses out in many more. It’s smaller by far, and its transport links are more constrained. More importantly, the minimum Share Capital requirement for a Danish private company is €10,000 and VAT registration is compulsory regardless of turnover levels. It has a light-touch employment regime with lower employer social security contribution rates than in the UK, but typically on higher salaries. Employee representation on the Board is obligatory for all but the smallest companies. The UK’s great strength is its internationalism. London in particular is home to representatives of almost every nationality in the world. It is the world’s most highly developed financial centre, and is regarded by many as the safe haven in uncertain times. And setting up business in the UK is quick and cheap. With no minimum share capital requirement other than the issue of 1 share that needn’t cost as much as £1 and no compulsory VAT registration until certain turnover thresholds are breached, access to the EU market place couldn’t be simpler. (Source: Goodman Jones UK)
Extracts from an article by Martin Varsavsky – ‘Advice for US entrepreneurs wishing to move to Europe’
Europe is great for an American tech entrepreneur because wealth is better distributed. More consumers can buy your products and services, people are more educated on the average so you can find very good employees and there are less competitors, less people wanting to be entrepreneurs (Europeans have ambivalent feelings towards entrepreneurs and being an entrepreneur is not as well regarded). But the European market is less homogenous than the American market. While in theory employees and goods can move anywhere in Europe and most of Europe has the euro as a common currency, cultures are very different and that in itself is a barrier to building a pan European venture.
You can’t legally work in a garage
When starting a company in the US, informality rules, we all know the story that HP was started out of a garage. Now in Europe work is so regulated that you can’t start a company out of a garage because you can’t legally work in a garage. I did not know this at the time and started Jazztel out of my garage in La Moraleja, Madrid, fortunately nobody filed charges against me and soon we had an office in La Castellana. But in general, the intense regulation of work is something that I found extremely annoying as a US-trained tech entrepreneur. In Germany, where I built Einsteinet, for example, there are rules that state how many meters an employee has to be from a window. Many of the workspaces that are used in NYC are illegal in Germany because these employees are far from windows and in very small desks—prohibitively crowded environments by German law. In Berlin there are many start ups who break these rules but I don’t know how long this is going to last. I hope Germany goes the way of Berlin in adopting further flexibility for start ups.
There are two areas that I find wonderful in Europe
There is no formal way to start a company and start ups in Europe have to live by the rules of old and established companies. This can’t go on. Europe needs to deregulate companies with less than three years of age, less than 20 employees that are not yet profitable. While I am not against many of the European labor laws as applied to large profitable companies, they are a clear obstacle for start ups. Now on the positive side. There are two areas that I find wonderful in Europe compared to the USA. One is that lawyers cost much less and do much less. Especially in Continental Europe. The UK and Ireland are more like the US in this case, but in the rest of Europe legal costs for a start up can be 90% less, and I really mean 90% less than in the USA. Lawyers are needed less, are used less and charge less. Savings can be enormous. There is much less frivolous litigation. There are few legal minefields while operating in Europe. The rules are tough, but they are clear. Also there are less types of patents allowed.
So if you are an American entrepreneur, should you move to Europe? Well some did and did quite well. My friend Zaryn Dentzel founder of Tuentiis one of them. But do not make a significant move before truly understanding how different Europe is from the USA. Other than France, which seems to be moving in the opposite direction, Europe is changing for the better. It is making it easier to be an entrepreneur, and in a Europe in crisis, entrepreneurs are finally getting more respect. – Read the full article at: http://english.martinvarsavsky.net/entrepreneurship/advice-for-us-entrepreneurs-who-move-to-europe.html#sthash.FErrmwr2.dpuf
Article by: Martin Varsavsk – Argentine/Spanish entrepreneur and founder of seven companies in the past 20 years.