SMEs in the region can deliver a "huge productivity boost" to the economy after Brexit if they embrace new technologies, an award-winning entrepreneur has predicted.
Speaking at a Connect Yorkshire event in Leeds, Martin Port said many companies turning over up to £25m still rely on accounting software, spreadsheets, emails and paperwork to manage their operations.
He said: “Yorkshire was at the forefront of the first industrial revolution with coal mines, steel works and textiles mills.
“Yorkshire can be a world beater again if SMEs, the lifeblood of our economy, embrace new technologies to become more efficient and
“SMEs can automate everything behind the scenes and free up their people to focus on the human side.
“Technologies will cut out waste and failure and allow customers to serve themselves.”
Mr Port said smarter mobile workforce management will lead to greater collaboration between companies.
He said they can use data insights to share jobs and save travel costs, which in turn will reduce the growing number of commercial van journeys on Britain’s roads.
Mr Port said technology can also help SMEs to become safer and more compliant with health and safety regulations.
He added the development of driverless vehicles will lead to fewer accidents as cars and lorries stick to the speed limits.
An increase in productivity among Yorkshire SMEs would provide a big shot in the arm for the North of England’s economy, a stated priority for the Government after Britain’s departure from the European Union.
Productivity is a measure of output by
Mr Port is
BigChange and Connect Yorkshire, the not-for-profit membership group for entrepreneurs wishing to grow their businesses, hosted the roundtable event to discuss the impact that technology will have on Yorkshire businesses over the next decade.
It was attended by owner-managers from some of the region’s most successful companies, who were either entrepreneurs in residence or members of Connect Yorkshire, and chaired by Connect Yorkshire chief executive Nick Butler.
Mr Port launched BigChange in 2012 after exiting Masternaut, the telematics business he founded in the UK and led through a series of acquisitions.
BigChange has 60 employees and is on course for sales of £7m this year and £12m in 2018.
The company has won a number of accolades, including this year’s Yorkshire Post Excellence in Awards, and was named in the Deloitte 2017 UK Technology Fast 50.
It is also expanding into Europe and the United States, via new offices in Paris and New York.
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