Technology & Enterprise: The Good News For UK plc
A very high global ranking in use of ICT, plus a report that Britain now has the best financial environment for entrepreneurs in the world, will be welcomed by many, but might seem more of a mixed blessing to a few. Combine this however with a UK Government paper showing how ICT can support even the most excluded, and perhaps everyone could agree that maybe we’re on to something really promising?
The Economist doesn’t always carry the cheeriest of good news for us Brits, but this week’s edition does provide some interesting information.
The Milken Institute, a think-tank in California, has reported that Britain now has the best financial environment for entrepreneurs of the 121 countries (92% of the global market) it has ranked every year since 1998. The Institute looks at the breadth, depth and vitality of each country’s capital markets – and has concluded that we are ahead even of Hong Kong, Singapore and the USA for the first time.
Then, also in the 5th November edition, the Economist tells us that the World Bank has rated Britain below only our competitors above, plus Denmark, in capacity to exploit information and communication technology (ICT). This index is based on the availability, quality, affordability, efficiency and adoption of ICT.
Perhaps for some these reports raise alarm rather than cheer, but there’s another interesting piece of news too – the UK Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has just released a report, Digital Solutions to Social Exclusion, which suggests ICT may be of benefit even to the most excluded of our citizens. It is now being used to help homeless people to get jobs, maintain medical support, and much else.
Nobody’s suggesting that everything in the garden is rosy; it never is. But here is evidence indeed that science and technology can, with the right push, work hand in hand with the market to enhance life chances for a whole lot of people.