London is turning into a hotbed of startup innovation

The UK has always been a hotbed of technical innovation — the world’s first computer was developed in Manchester and the UK’’s Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, without which most of the companies that are at SXSW would simply not exist. Now the UK is rapidly becoming a place where not just the innovators can excel but also the entrepreneurs can succeed.

You might not think so, given that most hot tech startups to date have tended to come from other areas: Silicon Valley, New York, and other parts of the world. But the UK government has focused a lot of its support measures on the tech sector and R&D activity, and that’s rapidly making a big difference to the startup climate here.

Whether that’s direct grant funding for new products and services, R&D tax credits, Patent Box legislation, or simply putting universities and companies together to foster more innovation, the UK government has a wealth of ways to support young tech companies.

Overseas tech companies are finding that the UK is a great gateway to the U.S. as well as the rest of Europe. Many companies are using the UK as a testbed to launch their services and see how they play with an English-speaking audience before taking them to the bigger U.S. and EU markets.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) works with UK-based businesses to ensure their success in international markets, and encourage the best overseas companies to look to the UK as their global partner of choice.

UKTI has professional advisers both within the UK and across more than 100 international markets. It’s got a variety of services to help startups and investors interested in the UK market:

  1. UKTI can act as a partner finder, helping you locate appropriate local contacts for likely partnerships.
  2. UKTI can help U.S. companies plug into the UK’’s research community, both in Universities and Companies.
  3. The Global Entrepreneurs Programme provides access to VCs and angels in the UK for start-ups.
  4. London’s Tech City, a cluster of start-ups in East London, is the fastest growing tech cluster in the European Union, and one of a number of tech-related clusters in London and rest of the UK.
  5. TSB can help startups with accessing UK research grants for product development.

VentureBeat is working with UKTI at SXSW to showcase the United Kingdom’s thriving start-up and investment scene via a series of quick hit video interviews with cool UK-based entrepreneurs and investors who will be at the show. We’ll also have plenty of other coverage of the news from South By, so if you can’t make it down to Austin this year, you can follow all of our SXSW coverage here. And make sure to join the Twitter conversation.

Photo credit: John Keogh/Flickr