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UK Innovation Trumps US

Every year, the Global Innovation Index ranks the innovation performance of nearly 130 economies around the world. The index, a collaboration between Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization, is a deep dive into the factors that influence the development of new ideas, from the political and regulatory environment, to human capital and research, investment, knowledge sophistication and technology outputs.

The UK takes 4th place in the overall rankings this year – behind Switzerland, Netherlands and Sweden, but above the US which is sixth. This has to be great news for the UK economy and suggests a welcoming and nurturing environment for UK entrepreneurs.

Writing in the report accompanying the rankings, Tim Ryan, US Chairman and Senior Partner of PwC highlighted the importance of innovation, which he says, “lies at the core of any solution to the challenges facing our world today. Whether it’s the creation of new technologies that can help us stretch the limits of what is possible, or the development of new business models that make our world more efficient and interconnected, it is our business imperative as leaders to continuously reinvent, rethink, and reimagine.”

There is recognition that economic realities have impacted developments in this area, and that some countries have recovered, while others where less support and focus has been applied, are still struggling: “Countries such as Germany, Israel, Italy, the United Kingdom (U.K.), the United States of America (U.S.), and Brazil experienced a decline in R&D spending in 2009, but their global and business expenditures on R&D (GERD and BERD) had fully recovered by 2016 (the latest year for which data are available).”

In the context of global economic well-being and growth, the report refers to, ”a renewed need to prioritize policies that foster new sources of innovation-driven growth. Investments in innovation are central in this goal…These investments are crucial to spurring breakthrough technologies and innovations that will have a major impact in the longer term.”

At Oxford Capital, we look for best of British founders and ideas in early stage, EIS qualifying companies, bringing tech-enabled insights and answers to national and international issues. The impacts can sometimes play out on a global stage and have the potential to affect millions if not billions of people. So, it’s good to know that the data and analysis reflects our belief in the strength and importance of UK innovation.

The value of the investment opportunities we identify is certainly more than just monetary: “At its best, innovation is not only a driver of economic growth but also a wellspring of solutions to pressing societal matters such as aging, pollution, and the spread of diseases. The impacts that innovation has achieved and will continue to achieve in the near future are worth more than money and percentage point increases in economic growth. They are central to overcoming important challenges that mankind faces in the 21st century.” (Global Innovation Index 2018).

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