Science and TechnologyWritten evidence submitted by the Smart Club for the East of England (SCEE)

1. The majority of our concerns are included and well articulated in the SMEIA Submission by Tim Crocker.

2. As a whole, over 95% of UK start ups fail within 3 years. We believe the success rate for technology firms however is much higher. Based on this why has there been no attempt by BIS or anyone else to find out what ingredient makes some firms survive.

3. Britain is the most inventive and innovative country on the planet.

4. Britain is the most hopeless country on the planet at getting products to market.

5. Reason? We concentrate far too much resource on the “inventing” end and ignore the “development” part. Because nobody works in “development” outside pharmaceuticals it doesn’t have a voice.

6. We have a large “business support system” which adds little. There are too many advisors with no first hand knowledge.

7. Shortage of capital means the “build up and sell out to the USA” model is the only business expansion route available in technology. A strong layer of long—term “family” firms on the German model would stabilise employment and substantially increase exports.

8. You cannot pick winning technologies. But you can pick winning people. Present approaches to supporting technology development are all wrong and wasting public money. The same schemes fail time and time again.

9. We need an industrial bank. We cannot increase the volume of products to market without.

10. Apprenticeship and technician training are finally being recognised as important. Good. This effort needs to be maintained.

11. That the country is in a substantial mess hardly needs saying but it is acknowledged that genuine attempts are being made across HMG to start identifying and talking to primary people rather than endless lobby and pressure groups and the range of self—and vested—interests as in days of old.

12. If there was in existence a “15 year plan for the development of the UK” how would the select committee see itself contributing to this?

13. In 2010 we ran a lecture (Professor Paul Kennedy, Yale University, author of “The rise and fall of the Great Powers”) entitled “Innovation and Industrial Regeneration” which to date has generated substantial worldwide interest with over 300 enquires. Not one—not one—of these has come from the UK.

14. There are reports from Civitas and ERA that we commend to the committee, details can be taken from website links.

February 2012

Prepared 11th March 2013