Europe's digital businesses are falling behind – but the UK is leading the fightback

08 July 2019

Digital technology and artificial intelligence are transforming business, but Europe is struggling to keep up with its competitors in the United States. A report by McKinsey revealed only two European companies are in the worldwide digital top 30, and Europe is home to only 10 percent of the world's digital unicorns.


Britain leads the way

In Europe, only Scandinavia and the United Kingdom are well-placed to meet the challenge of the United States, which still leads the world in digital companies.

That's why it's so important for the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards to celebrate the UK's digital businesses, those pioneers bringing artificial intelligence into the mainstream and helping to diversify Britain's thriving business community.

The United Kingdom is leading the transformation of Europe's digital landscape. A healthy start-up culture, Europe's second-largest pool of developers – 830,000 in 2017 – and world-class universities with courses in AI and computer science makes Britain a prime breeding ground for digital innovation. As a result – according to McKinsey – the United Kingdom demonstrates more ‘AI readiness' than other European countries, particularly when it comes to the level of innovation.

In 2018, British businesses operating within AI raised a record $1.3 billion in funding, compared to $400m and $300m by French and German companies respectively.


Rewarding digital innovation

Last year, the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards recognised some of these innovative British businesses leading the way in digital and AI business, both big and small.

The Digital Business of the Year was awarded to Minicabit, which lets users compare and book minicabs and taxis, and calculates fares so users can find the cheapest options available in their area.

A special commendation was given to the West Yorkshire-based Love Layla Designs, which designs and produces quirky greetings cards and gifts, and has gained something of a cult following on social media. This recognition also speaks to the geographic diversity of digital businesses – although winner Minicabit is based in London, innovation is taking place across the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Signal Media won the Fujitsu AI Pioneer of the Year Award. Signal Media uses AI to provide real-time unlimited information and insights for media monitoring, reputation management and market intelligence, counting among its clients Twitter, Mizuho, Citibank, Deloitte and more. These clients demonstrate just how critical AI-based technology is becoming to British businesses.


Recognising more achievements in 2019

This year, the National Business Awards will continue to recognise digital and AI businesses across its categories, including with the return of the Artificial Intelligence Award. Stay tuned to find out which superlative British companies and leaders are in the running, and discover more about their stories at the forefront of business innovation.

The National Business Awards take place on 12 November 2019 at Grosvenor House. Register your interest today and celebrate the cream of British business with 1,200 business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians and media representatives.