Choppy Brexit waters ahead for UK business

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By Neil Saada, pictured above, centre, co-founder of Teech and Nasaseasons

Uncertainty has certainly been the buzzword in the UK in 2017. With the domestic political situation, and of course the ongoing Brexit negotiations not showing any signs of real progress being made, it’s difficult for anyone involved in business in the UK to predict too far into the future.

My background is in online business, having grown up in Paris I’m now aged 20 living in London and running two online businesses – Teech, an online educational programme helping students, and the fashion brand Nasa Seasons.

As any entrepreneur in this era of uncertainty will tell you, our businesses are of course likely to be affected in one way or another by how Brexit plays out, and it’s something that anyone involved in business is watching with a very close eye. At the moment, it feels as though the current climate is starting to increase anxiety amongst both business owners and investors, as truthfully nobody actually knows what will happen exactly.

Being French, I find it incredible that there is a chance I may need to be on a visa to work and live in this country for example, and the overwhelming concern on a bigger level is because entrepreneurs don’t think ‘what is next?’ but more ‘where should we go next?’. This could potentially have huge ramifications to the UK economy if the start-ups begin starting up elsewhere.

This is something that at Teech, we think we are going to see more of, as the past year has seen it become harder for start-ups to raise funds in the UK, as VC’s are naturally questioning what’s on the horizon for the economy. This is an area where we feel that the government and business sector could be doing more to help support young business people in the UK.

We haven’t really seen any great desire for them to assist young entrepreneurs yet, and there’s a danger of being left behind on a tech level I feel. For example, we have recently seen lots of countries in the EU having exciting discussions about crypto-currencies and start-up incubators continuing to push things forward, whereas here it seems the main discussion point at the moment is around the London ban of Uber!

At Teech, we have experienced first-hand the advantages of living in such an amazing place as London, and the benefits for business of being based here. We launched Teech here, (I also studied at University here), and for us London is still one of the most, if not the most important city for education in the world.

London has a huge variety of universities and schools, but most importantly the big 4 of Imperial, LSE, UCL and King’s which collectively product a huge amount of very well qualified students, from all nationalities. This creates a huge pool of entrepreneurs and talented workers for this generation, and is something that again has a lot of uncertainty around international students as a factor in Brexit, and something that again could significantly hinder growth.

It would be such a shame if the buzz of starting up in London loses its appeal as, before Brexit, it was the perfect environment for a thriving economy. At Teech we always say that in our experience it’s been the perfect mix of the best bits of US and European business conditions. The mentality and diversity is incredible and highly motivating, and when you add the availability of funding and technical talent in London, it’s made for the perfect ecosystem up until now.

Additional support from things such as the EU start up fund that will now be unavailable for post-Brexit UK start-ups, but in my opinion the biggest issue that is yet to be resolved is the impact on recruiting for UK businesses and availability of funds.

Ultimately, entrepreneurs by their very nature will adapt to conditions and find a way to thrive– but the biggest question mark remains on whether that will be here in London, or overseas in the future.

Neil Saada is the co-founder of Teech – instant face to face video tuition for school and university students. For more details check out teech.com