back to article About that UK digital biz renaissance? Not so fast

The Gibson Index business database has been surveying UK businesses since 2003. Here, founder Marcus Gibson explains why the Tech City quango’s "Tech Nation" survey touting the success of "digital" Britain is deeply flawed. The Tech City quango last week claimed to conduct the "first national" survey of the UK’s digital …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Another source of misleading registrations

    Off the shelf companies. When I went freelance my accountant had a stock of pre-registered companies to hand out to new clients - and maybe old clients who needed an extra company.

    1. Mike Dimmick

      Re: Another source of misleading registrations

      I think shelf companies should be reported with an SIC code of 99999, and therefore be distinguishable from real company registrations, but the point probably stands.

      EDIT: I found a company offering shelf company registrations at and looked up some of their tech-sounding companies on the Companies House WebCheck. Big Blue Data Ltd and Highway Software Ltd were registered with SIC code 74990 - Non-Trading Company.

  2. Desk Jockey

    Ooh handy

    Thanks for the useful tips in this article. I am actually meant to be analysing the growth of SMEs Small to Medium Enterprises) in my industry and how well they are doing. It is bloody difficult work because there is no checkbox in company reporting systems to say the supplier is an SME and of course by the nature of being SMEs, their status is somewhat fluid and so reliable statistic on them do not really exist.

    Anyway, my industry tends to be dominated by several big players so the easier approach of finding out about SMEs is to get those big players to submit annual reports about their supply chains. Lots of useful data in there, but the challenge is trying to get it to tell you something useful. One thing is clear, just looking at a big database (like Companies House) and expecting it to tell you what you are trying to find out is not going to work. This is a basic error and any report that goes down this route deserves to be rediculed. Unfortunately, they make such useful political fodder...

  3. gr00001000

    The Reg IS the font of knowledge

    Glad you went on to mention that you spotted hot spots in South Oxfordshire and Bath-Bristol. Theres quite a few tech firms in various states of growth there i've come across. It would be very interesting if Reg were to point out the UK hotspots to help its readers. Obviously large parts of the M4 corridor would feature, along with tech city, but these lesser known ones too.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whilst I agree that a lot of the stuff about UK digital biz is delusional wank, the article slightly undermines itself by talking about a cluster round Sophos. Whilst Sophos is presumably the largest tech company in the area, I don't think you could say there is a cluster around it in any meaningful sense in the sense that I am not aware of

    a) it buying any smaller local start-ups in the same field

    b) Sophos people going on to form their own security start ups

    I suspect that spin-offs of the countless scientific research organisations in the South Oxfordshire hinterland have more to do with it (though whatever happened to the Pig Improvement Company?)

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