First satellite in UK

Tech leader says Brexit ‘won’t halt digital single market’

Willem Jonker

Willem Jonker: ‘we will not be stopped by borders’ (pic: Terry Murden)

A European digital industries leader speaking in Edinburgh has offered a defiant message to those fearing the impact of Brexit, saying the industry has “no borders”.

Willem Jonker, chief executive of the innovation institute EIT Digital told a gathering of digital industry specialists that Europe was missing out to the US and Asia in building businesses of scale, despite having the talent to achieve great things.

Attending the opening of the EIT office in Edinburgh, the organisation’s only satellite office in the UK outside London, he told 100 guests that the challenge was to build “the digital single market” in Europe connecting technology, institutes and finance.

On Brexit, he said: “I think digital and education have no borders. So we will not be stopped by borders. We are committed to make this a success.”

He said that too often great ideas and businesses had been developed in Europe but had all too often been sold to the Americans.

Ivan McKee

Ivan McKee: ‘innovation is intrinsic to our culture’ (pic: Terry Murden)

EIT Digital is a €100 million initiative aimed at encouraging market uptake of research-based digital technologies.

The new office, at the University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre, will help deepen relationships between Scotland and the EU, increase innovation and investment in R&D.

It will also encourage knowledge exchange between universities and industry, develop skills in Scottish businesses, and promote Scotland’s offer to investors and talent. 

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