-by Elina Hedman
Collaboration is vital to successful and scalable business growth — particularly when looking to expand across borders. As founder of growth builder and social enterprise, Aerate, my commercial team and I attended the first experiential Corporate Innovation Summit (CIS) in Bangkok earlier in the year. Hosted by RISE — a leading accelerator in Southeast Asia, with a mission to grow GDP in the region by 1% — the inaugural event outlined a number of key opportunities for start-ups and growing businesses.
The strategic reason for Aerate’s participation at CIS is our fundamental commitment to supporting companies solve core challenges: attracting talent, funding, clients or any combination of these three. As a participant in the UK Government’s Global Entrepreneurship Programme (GEP), an initiative managed by the Department for International Trade, we have insight into both inward investment in the UK as well as expansion outside the UK. At Aerate we design and build our own concepts, risking our own time and money to positively impact the UK economy, and as a growth builder, we are uniquely placed to support businesses to enter and grow in the UK market.
As a GEP ambassador and advisor to Aerate, Tony Hughes sums up the programme’s mission: “The single most important fact that champions the UK as a premier destination for start-ups is the 90% claim. This is the percentage of the top ten tech Unicorns in the UK, which has at least one founder from overseas. This says to any entrepreneur that they can not only get a start in the UK but can grow their company into a billion dollar enterprise. This is due to many factors, from the open business environment, availability of finance at all stages and specialist talent with a range of skill sets.” Hughes believes the diversity in London drives this mission forward: “London in particular, is home to a plethora of cultures, nationalities and religions which makes for a global mix that represents the world at large and gives start-ups the ability to test their products and services in a real world test bed before going global.”
GEP has helped hundreds of overseas entrepreneurs scale their tech companies. The UK accounts for 38% of all venture capital money raised across Europe and has the largest tech ecosystem in the continent. There over 200 accelerators in London alone and many more ‘gateway’ organisations whose sole purpose is to support young start-up companies get their product or service to market.
A great example of this — bringing talent and investment to the UK — is MCFIVA, led by the inspiring Thai entrepreneur Ratchata Nan Sethworadej, who together with Aerate and the British Embassy/UK Trade, recently supported the visit of 20 start-ups during London Tech week in June