There’s a good chance a No Deal Brexit may be on its way on 31st October but have you prepared for it? Working with our friends at the Coalition for the Digital Economy & the Tech Cluster Group (Where TechSPARK & Engine Shed are the South West representatives). We’ve put together a list of things you should be thinking about…

1. Data Protection & Flows – British tech startups currently work under the  EU’s data protection framework where data flows freely across borders. However, post-Brexit we will be counted as a ‘third country’ to the European data protection framework so whilst you can still send data to the EU, data coming the other way will require more work.

2. Employment, immigration & visas – Currently EU Citizens (including British nationals) can work anywhere in the EU. After Brexit, freedom of movement will end and EU nationals will need to apply for Settled Status by 31 Dec 2020.

3. Taxation & VAT – Currently, businesses selling digital content in the EU have to register for the EU’s Mini-One-Stop-Shop (MOSS) to report and remit VAT on sales. Post a No Deal Brexit you will no longer be able to use the MOSS portal as before but will need to register as a non-union member through the MOSS portal of an EU member state.

4. The e-Commerce Directive – Currently UK businesses are covered by the e-Commerce Directive which means startups can base their legal compliance on the laws of their member state. After No Deal without the e-Commerce directive, you may be legally liable for User-generated content on your service.

5. The Digital Single Market Framework – The Digital Single Market is an EU strategy to develop one set of trading rules for online commerce. Whilst this won’t immediately change after a no-deal the UK may start to its own rules which means you’ll have to abide by those plus the EU’s if you sell there as well.

6. EU Legislation in Limbo –  Currently there are several pieces of legislation being finalised by the EU. Normally, in this case, the UK then has two years to adopt this legislation domestically. In a No Deal Brexit, this will not be the case and it is unclear what legislation will take its place.

7. Domain Names –  At the moment .eu domain names can only be registered by organisations and people in EEA. After a No Deal Brexit, you will no longer be eligible to buy .eu domains and will have until 1 January 2020 to update the address of your current .eu domains to somewhere in the EEA.

8. Harmful, illegal & terrorist content – Governments are considering various pieces of legislation that screens content considered harmful. In the event of a No Deal Brexit, the UK will no longer be involved in the setting of EU standards mean UK start-ups will potentially have to follow two sets of rules one for UK content & one for EU content.

9. Geoblocking & cross-border content –  After a No Deal Brexit UK businesses will still have to abide by geoblocking and cross-border content regulations when selling to Europe (so you will not be able to treat a French customer differently to a German one). However, UK customers will not have this protection so you may be treated differently.

10. Horizon 2020 and R&D Funding – Horizon 2020 currently funds significant tech R&D in the UK, after Brexit the government has committed to all current funding via UKRI however in the future you will have to apply to UKRI. If you are still waiting for a funding agreement during Brexit it will be reviewed by UKRI.

We are also hosting a breakfast Q&A session with COADEC and TCG on the 10 October at EngineShed. Sign up here

There’s more information on each of the areas in the report below.

Ben Shorrock

Ben has been working to help grow tech and digital business for the last decade. He is currently the MD of TechSPARK the Southwest’s network for tech startups and scale ups working with 25,000 people a month to help them recruit, network and raise capital in the UK’s most productive Tech cluster (TechNation 2019). He sits on the boards of the UK Tech Cluster Group, Bristol’s ONce City Economy Board, Tech Swindon, Tech Southwest and is a co-founder of Bristol Tech Festival. Prior to working for TechSPARK, Ben worked in consultancy with businesses opening new sites internationally. In this role, he helped set up Invest Bristol & Bath and the Netherlands consulate for the north of England.