Entering the UK market

By Guest Author | UK | May 22, 2019

BY TIINA-MARIA ARAJA, Head of Investment Baltics

I have worked with Baltic startups for 13 years and the leap made during this time is incredible. The UK is a great place for doing business. Baltic entrepreneurs have founded some of the best UK fintechs, such as TransferWise, Revolut and Monese. And many Baltic startups have offices in the UK, including Starship Technologies, Funderbeam, Pipedrive, Edurio, Giraffe360, Trafi, and Brolis Semiconductors. Recently I’ve been working more closely with fintechs and developing opportunities for Baltic companies in the UK. In general, tech startups, servicing a wide range of sectors, are very welcome in the UK.

Companies go to the UK because of the size of the market (66 million people), the English language, which is widely studied and spoken in the Baltics, the good time zone, and the proximity to the home market. I see some companies expand to access the experienced talent they cannot find at home, while some are keen to have a London address. The UK also offers a variety of accelerator programmes with amazing mentors and contacts, and access to investors is made easy thanks to investment schemes like EIS and SEIS. 

As costs have escalated in the Baltic home markets, UK costs comparably do not seem so high, especially outside London. In the past year, I have enjoyed working in northern England, in Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool, getting involved with companies like Fitek, Fractory and Files.fm as they set up their sales offices in that region.

What does Investment Baltics do?

We help Baltic companies expand to the UK, offering free, confidential advice and support. We support businesses with market research, advise on business culture and environment, and how and where to set up. As the law and tax systems in the UK are different from the Baltics, we can put you in touch with specific legal and tax advisers. We can facilitate meetings with accountants and recruitment agencies, and provide advice on opening bank accounts. We also help companies find the right networking opportunities to allow them to develop contacts in the UK.

What kind of startups are most welcome in the UK and which are likely to be the most successful?

Tech startups are very welcome, but the market is not just limited to tech. The most successful startups are probably those with the resources for expansion. The UK is a market that expects a physical presence – they like to see you there.


If you are looking to invest or set up a business in the UK, the best time to go is during London Tech Week (10-14 June). However, there are many more relevant conferences and events. For more suggestions, or if you are interested in expanding your business to, or setting up an office in, the UK, please email us at balticinvestment@fco.gov.uk.

We will also be running a series of events called Great Talks relating to doing business in the UK. Please like our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Great-Talks-466591993871736) and sign up to events to find out more. Or email us at greattalks@fco.gov.uk


The UK is the 5th largest economy in the world (IMF World Economic Database 2017)

A steady growth is forecast for the UK through to 2022 (IMF Database 2017)

The UK is number 1 in Europe for inward foreign direct investment (UNCTAD FDI Statistics Database 2016) with total investments in the UK amounting to £1,336.5 billion (£573.1 billion from EU countries and £763.4 billion from non-EU countries) (UNCTAD World Investment Report 2018)

650,000 new businesses were set up in the UK in 2016 (StartUp Britain 2016)

The UK is the number 1 choice in Europe for key strategic investments, such as headquarters (EY Attractiveness Survey 2018)

The UK is the third most attractive destination for investment in the world after the USA and Hong Kong, and this position is unchanged since 2016 (UNCTAD World Investment Report 2018)

The UK is the most attractive destination for investment in Europe, and this position is unchanged since 2016 (UNCTAD World Investment Report 2018)

The UK’s software and technology sector is larger than the rest of Europe combined (London & Partners survey 2018)

The UK’s competitive labour costs are lower than those of Italy, France and Germany (Eurostat 2018)

London led every category in the Global Financial Centres Index 20, ahead of New York, Singapore and Hong Kong (Eurostat 2017)

The UK is the number one destination for health and life sciences foreign direct investment in Europe (EY 2018)

The UK is the most advanced e-commerce market worldwide (SaleCycle Blog 2018)

UK consumers are the world’s biggest online spenders per head, at over $3,500 per year