Not many start-ups have the chance to give direct advice to those at the top, but Ellexus CEO Rosemary Francis is no shrinking violet. Last week, St John’s Innovation Centre was visited by the EU select committee of the House of Lords and Rosemary was one of a group of start-up heads called upon to share their knowledge.
The mission of the select committee was to find out how Brexit has been affecting the tech startup scene and what we need to do to move forward and be successful once we have left the EU. A fruitful subject indeed.
During the meeting, a number of points were made by various start-up attendees that illustrate the very different experience had by all. Those who offer services that could be found elsewhere in Europe had lost business. On the other hand, those companies with unique technology that can only be supplied by us had not had a problem.
A common desire from all attendees was for better access to Chinese markets and in general to spend less time arguing with our friends and neighbours. Technology is such a global scene that cooperation is vital.
In terms of recruitment – often a challenge for start-ups looking for highly specialised staff – everyone wanted to make it easier to attract good people from the EU and to employ people remotely in their own countries.
In short, no one thought that Britain was making a good choice. This is the first time politics has had to be part of a technical discussion about collaboration, which doesn’t make for easy decision making.
Hopefully the EU select committee will have taken some food for thought from the meeting. Time will tell!