Monthly Archives: March 2016

Another year, another budget announcement: But is it good news for tech companies?

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When you see the image of our honourable Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, standing outside Number 10 with his shiny red suitcase it can only mean one thing – time for another budget announcement. As the eighth budget announcement during his tenure as Chancellor, George cracked down on sugar drink brands and told us all why he thinks it is crucial Britain stays in Europe. It was all riveting stuff (if you’re into fiscal planning that is) but what announcements did he make that tech companies should take note of?

Firstly, for small tech start-ups, the announcement that business rates will be reduced is welcoming. Essentially, small tech firms which set up shop in a property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less will effectively be exempt from paying any business rates. Tech investors and entrepreneurs can breathe a sigh of relief that they will have more money in their pockets to invest in their company. Moreover, the Entrepreneurs’ Relief has been extended to encourage investors to back unlisted companies. In essence, this allows an investor to finance a business and obtain the 10 per cent entrepreneurs’ rate without having to work in the business.

Other initiatives to help businesses, particularly in the communications sector, include the Broadband Investment Fund, created to help the growth of alternative broadband networks by working with private sector companies. Additionally, Osborne outlined plans to establish an Institute of Coding by forming a panel of experts to shape and oversee its creation, with the aim of providing young people with digital skills like coding. For the technology companies based in the UK, the fact that government is committed to nurturing home-grown digital talent is welcoming.

On the surface then, it seems George’s budget was largely focused on giving small companies a boost, however it also demonstrated the government’s commitment to meeting its overall digital objectives. As part of its aim to support broadband and mobile infrastructure, the government plans to increase ultrafast broadband in the South West to £14.5m. Additionally, the government is set to push ahead with its plans for 5G by setting up a review to examine the benefits of the technology and hopes to have a strategy by 2017. On pioneering technologies, the government committed £10m to fund a data centre to create more accurate stats from big data and advance the development of tech initiatives like driverless cars.

So it looks like George’s latest budget has been one that could potentially have a lot to offer for technology companies, both big and small. What’s more, technology initiatives like driverless cars and big data are still high on the agenda and it’s comforting to know that the UK is still ambitious in its digital plans.

Leke Apena, Senior Account Executive

Introducing: Leah Monteleone

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Tell us a little about your background:

I graduated from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo in June of 2015 with a degree in Communications and Psychology. After a month-long graduation trip to Southeast Asia, I started work at The OutCast Agency where I worked with various B2B and B2C clients.

At my last agency, I was involved in a multitude of projects including: Super Bowl 2016 crisis communication strategizing, cloud computing industry and competitive landscape analysis, proactive story angle and content creation, and interactive team brainstorms.

Prior to OutCast, I interned with South San Francisco biotechnology company, Solazyme, where I supported both the public relations and marketing teams. I also spent a summer interning with the San Francisco Giants as a brand ambassador for their nonprofit organization, The San Francisco Junior Giants. The Jr. Giants were created to provide underprivileged children in the SF area with a summer baseball camp, free of charge. After a couple summers of building brands and sharing their stories, I decided to pursue public relations.

Why are you excited to support Liberty and our clients?

My experience with enterprise, business and consumer tech led me straight to Liberty where I am elated to be a part of the team.

As a lover of reading, writing and storytelling, I knew PR was the perfect career for me. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to tell a captivating yet concise story – especially in technology, for those stories are the most challenging (yet fun!) to tell. In order to convey a compelling story, the narrator must also believe in the company or product. That’s why I chose Liberty – with an impressive lineup of tech clients, I knew I’d have the time of my life!

I am honored to join the Liberty Communications team as the new Junior Account Executive in the San Francisco office. I am ready to ramp up and plan to hit the ground running. I am confident that this is going to be a fun and knowledge-rich ride. I am excited to get the ball rolling and look forward to learning all things Liberty.

What are some of your hobbies?

When I’m not storytelling, I enjoy reading, scuba diving, cooking, traveling and practicing yoga. You can find me at most SF Giants games supporting Joe Panik and Buster Posey or meditating after a long day of pitching reporters. I have recently taken up the piano and I am currently perfecting The Beatle’s infamous “Lucy in the Sky”.

What was the last book you read or song you listened to?

I just finished reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, a heartbreaking historical fiction novel about the Nazis invading France during WWII. Hannah captures WWII from the perspective of the French women in an emotional yet inspiring story.