North East developers slam StartUp Britain for failing to promote UK software

By Derek du Preez
26 Apr 2011 View Comments
StartUp Britain logo

Sunderland Software City, an organisation promoting growth of the software industry in the North East, has slammed the government's StartUp Britain initiative for supporting non-UK developers.

Announced in George Osborne's Budget speech, StartUp Britain aims to foster an enterprise-driven recovery, and has backing from the likes of Microsoft, Google and RIM.

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However, Sunderland Software City's chief executive officer, Bernie Callaghan, has written a letter of complaint to both the board of StartUp Britain and business and enterprise minister Mark Prisk, claiming that "79 per cent of the online business tools the site signposts visitors to are based overseas".

He goes on to argue that "this is hardly a vote of confidence in the innovation of the UK software industry".

The letter points to many software companies in the North East that can count blue-chip firms such as HSBC, Vodafone and BT as customers, and suggests that these could have been promoted on the StartUp Britain web site.

"We can see no reason why any number of the North East's 350 software companies could not be included among the business tools signposted on StartUp Britain and we would be delighted to act as your gateway to them," writes Callaghan.

"It seems bizarre that a government-backed scheme claiming to be the cheerleader for British innovation should be actively signposting people away from...British innovation."

Callaghan has invited both the board of StartUp Britain and Mark Prisk to visit the North East to discuss discounted services that software companies would be happy to provide.

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