CES 2017: UK Gov is lagging behind on its support for technology companies, blasts Gary Shapiro

posted on Thursday, 5th January 2017 by Geny Caloisi

CES 2017  Trade show 

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Gary Shapiro, the head of Las Vegas’ CES, has been reported as saying that the lack of support the UK government has shown towards tech start up companies is a source of embarrassment.

A report from the BBC quoted Shapiro as saying: "Britain's been a little slow to the game honestly. We have a minister from Britain coming but there's not a lot of activity that we've seen at CES.

"When I was in London recently, I raised it with one of the ministers, and they said: 'Yeah, it's amazing. I can get approval to go to [Texas festival] South by Southwest, but because it's Las Vegas, for some reason it's frowned upon.'

"And that's a pretty short-sighted attitude."

Other European governments, such as the French, have given subsidies to companies to go the CES. Some companies on the now called ‘La French Tech’ community hasve had part of the expenses allegedly paid by the government.

Francis Turner, UK Managing Director at Adyoulike experienced the struggle for support in the UK first hand. “If truth be told, the government has done little to nothing to support our business,” He said and explained, “My partner and I built up Content Amp, a UK native advertising technology firm, which was completely self-funded, into a successful company. Yet when looking for options to scale up and expand our business, both the UK government and also financial institutions were not interested in helping us. Due to this situation, we ended up merging with Adyoulike, a French native advertising company, in 2014 to fuel a combined global expansion."

However Shapiro stressed he was not calling on the UK to subsidise its young companies' CES appearances.

"Government support is just not funding, I want to make that very clear," he explained.

"It's political leadership. It's showing up.

"It's a matter of [attracting] attention. We're having the prince of the Netherlands show up, for example.

"I don't know why the UK is not responding, because there is a tremendous amount of innovation there.

"I think there's a great opportunity for the UK, which is untapped."

But the UK's Department for International Trade said to the BBC that it was providing "targeted support".

This year there are nearly five times as many French companies attending this CES as British ones.

CES start-up zone, located at the Eureka Park has favourable rates for the stands. Star-ups from Israeli, New Zealand, Ukrainian, Czech, Saudi Arabian, Dutch, and US are exhibiting there, but not the Brits.

A spokeswoman for the UK's Department for International Trade (DIT) was reported as saying that she thought it was more effective for UK attendees to base themselves elsewhere in product-themed areas.

The spokeswoman added that the minister for digital and culture, Matt Hancock, would meet British exhibitors when he stopped in for half a day before travelling on to meet music industry leaders in California.

 

Geny Caloisi

Geny Caloisi is an accomplished technology journalist who has worked in a variety of AV industry publications. 

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