According to AgFunder, the UK is Europe’s leading agri-foodtech startup nation, attracting $1.1 billion investment in 2020 (after the US, China and India). Being an entrepreneur operating your business from the UK puts you in the centre of a forward-thinking country that is at the forefront of sustainability and innovation, targeting Carbon Zero by 2050.
Case Study with Elena Piana (CEO & Founder, Noola Redclaw)
"We need infrastructure, we need investment, we need people that know how to work with technology. And the UK is the place for that. There are not many other European countries that have a political framework that helps technology as the UK does", says Elena.
Main UK regions
- Midlands Engine - the region noted for its vast agri-foodtech ecosystem.
- Northern Ireland offers vibrant manufacturing and engineering sector.
- Northern Powerhouse - strong link to manufacturing, the region that's given birth to the Industrial Revolution.
- Scotland presents excellent potential for business growth, offering low operating costs. Scotland is home to a large proportion of research institutes focusing on sustainable food and agriculture technologies (some are Edinburgh University, Newcastle University, Scotland's Rural College, Agri-Epi North, The James Hutton Institute, Roslin Institute).
- South England - a region with top graduate talent and Enterprise Zones offering tax discounts, also top links to the aquaculture industry.
- Wales is the fastest-growing manufacturing sector in the UK.
Export Trade Opportunities from the UK
Finding Export Opportunities
The UK time zone is uniquely placed to serve both East and West markets.
Once you're in the UK, you can grow your business faster by selling overseas. The DiT (Department of International Trade) has a matching service to help entrepreneurs find export sales leads and pitch their business to overseas buyers looking for specific products and services.
You can learn more about export opportunities in one of our previous articles.
Local export finance managers can support your business to get finance and insurance to help you export and fulfil contracts and get paid. Any size company from all sectors could be part of this scheme - see UK Export Finance.
Investment Opportunities in the UK
Committed to tackling the most significant global issues and reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, UK Tech companies attracted a record of $15 billion VC investment in 2020, more than Europe combined. The UK is 3rd in the world for tech unicorns behind only the US and China, with seven new unicorn firms in 2020 alone.
Resources for Funding Opportunities in the UK:
- British Growth Fund
- UK Business Finance Guide
- British Business Bank
- Public Sector Financial Support - Identify government-backed funding options for your business
- Private Sector Finance - explore private funding possibilities
- Directory of Financial Support - types of financial support offered by the UK government
Research and Development (R&D) Support in the UK
The UK is home to over 100 Research Institutes and Universities, part of the agri-foodtech ecosystem.
The Agri-Epi Centre, for instance, is a "pioneering AgriTech enabler" with its four centres across the country. The AgriEpi Centres are a testing ground for businesses driving the next generation of farming technologies, including sensors, imaging and robotics. You can learn more about AgriEpi on our podcast episode with Kasi McReddie.
The South Lincolnshire Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ) is at the heart of the UK Food Valley, providing new and exciting collaborative spaces for businesses in the agritech and foodtech industries.
The UK has significant tax incentives for investors like SEIS, Patent Box, R&D tax incentives and Innovate UK grants.
The role of Innovate UK as the UK government's innovation agency is to stimulate innovation, working with businesses and other partners, in order to accelerate economic growth. The mission of the agency is to de-risk, enable and support innovation.
Since 2007, Innovate UK has invested around £2.5 billion to help businesses across the country to innovate, with match funding from industry taking the total value of projects above £4.3 billion.
The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) offers UK investors a 30% tax rebate, including capital gains tax-free after three years, encouraging early-stage investments.
The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme is designed to help businesses when they're starting to trade, and it offers initial tax relief of 50% on investments up to £100,000 and Capital Gains Tax (CGT) exemption for any gains on the SEIS shares.
Other UK Tax Incentives
Patent Box reduces corporation tax to 10% for profits related to patented inventions and innovations revenue.
R&D Tax Relief and R&D Expenditure Credit offer an annual rebate of costs incurred researching and developing businesses in science and technology.
How to Access the UK's Resources for Your Business?
We help up-skill and support founders by providing hands-on strategic/tactical assistance, mentoring, coaching, and introductions to the UK’s world-class ecosystem.
Being part of our support process, you will benefit from:
• Mentoring from Rob Ward - an experienced entrepreneur in the AgTech/ FoodTech sector
• Help to develop business plans
• Assistance with relocating to the UK (including Visa, setting up a bank account in the UK, up to date information on tax system)
• Introductions to key networks including investors
• Guidance on how to expand internationally
Have you got questions? Get in touch with us.