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Does the UK really rank fourth for innovation?

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The UK’s business community ranks Britain as the fourth best environment to innovate, behind the US, Germany and Japan. The self-rating offers good news to the UK as year on year it sees one of the biggest leaps of any of the 26 markets assessed. 

However, the ‘Global Innovation Barometer’, which examines the insights of executives in 26 countries, shows a different point of view.

When executives around the world were asked to name their innovation exemplar, China and South Korea leapfrog the UK and the country falls down to sixth.

Britain still makes it into the top ten though, and, reassuringly, government support for innovation was one of the key factors why. Indeed, recent policies have indicated that the government is keen to promote and prioritise innovation.

26,000 of England’s most promising mid-sized businesses are set to receive aid from the UK Innovation fund. This perhaps explains the high levels of confidence in the UK as an innovation-conducive market.

When it came to priorities, an overwhelming amount of UK businesses is to be close to the customer and understand their needs. 

Mark Elborne, president and CEO of GE UK and Ireland, said: “With an increasingly competitive global marketplace, innovation is crucial.  It’s reassuring that businesses believe the UK is a good place to innovate and that they are supported by government policies and funding.  

“However, we must ensure that this support is easy to access, to allow fleet-of-foot technology development and deployment, as well as continuing to nurture skills and talent through STEM subjects from an early age.”

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