Got asked by a journalist about my take on the budget in regards to technology which I include below. Alexia’s post on it is clearer and better than mine though. Have a look. And bludget? Well that’s what the good folks on Twitter decided to label Twitter messages with that mentioned the budget.
My own take is that this was a prime opportunity to tell the tech companies of Ireland or those wanting to start one that there is real potential and to take the plunge. A budget, even if it is all about cutting things to bits can still be used to promote business and investment in people and ideas. Instead it’s leaving people with a mostly negative take on the present and the future.
This tax relief on IP is also to be welcomed but those getting into creating or acquiring IP need to be very large and very rich companies or have considerable backing. IP development takes a lot of time and resources so it’s only really established companies that are in this area. For anyone starting up, it’s not the easiest place to work and there are better returns for a tech company and a startup by just developing something and launching something fast. Launch fast, launch cheap and iterate as you go, that’s one of the main rules for technology startups these days. Most tech VCs aren’t too worried about IP unless you get sued for breaches. I think a tax relief system where IP developed in colleges is commercially used and exploited would capture the interest of more tech companies. While there is college to business IP movements, this needs to be streamlined and made much more efficient. Stanford University is a model to follow here.
2009 has seen plummeting property prices and plenty of highly skilled people looking for jobs which are serious advantages in terms of starting a tech company. Most of a tech company can be run from anywhere with a broadband connection anyway when it first starts out. A tax or grant boost from the Government to invest in technology startups now will get most bang from a buck. Planning for the future is not all about slashing present costs. We should remember that Google started in a downturn too and the Government should be thinking in those terns.
We all know about creative accounting and creative ways people moved money about, why can’t we have creative tax breaks like tax relief for bars and cafes that install free public wifi or tax relief for a business that provides desk space for tech startups while they incubate. Small things yet effective ways to enable new tech companies.