tech nationThe UK industry body set up in 2014 to support tech entrepreneurs in scaling their businesses has announced it will be forced to close following the UK government’s decision to withdraw crucial funding.
the Advertisingposted yesterday afternoon, began as follows:
“After a decade as a government-backed organization serving the UK tech ecosystem, we are announcing today that Tech Nation will be closing its doors from 31st March 2023. Core funding for the Tech Nation grant has been awarded from DCMS to Barclays Bank. With this foundation removed, the The remaining activities of Tech Nation are not applicable on a standalone basis.
“As a direct result of the withdrawal of the DCMS grant, Tech Nation will be discontinuing all existing operations through a carefully planned divestiture process and has begun a redundancy consultation process. Tech Nation is also actively seeking interested parties to bring its asset portfolio forward in a new guise.” .
The non-profit organization was set up to promote the technology in the UK. This included providing support to founders with training, network building, education, specific accelerators for companies focused on AI, Internet, FinTech, talent management in the Global Tech Talent Visa Program and publishing research.
Tech Nation has been very effective in helping UK tech companies expand, bringing tech talent to the UK. More than 95% of startups nurtured through Tech Nation’s accelerator programs have gone on to grow further, and more than a third of tech unicorns and decathlons created in the UK have graduated from the Tech Nation programme. Its alumni include some very familiar names like Ocado, Depop, Bloom & Wild, Just Eat, Darktrace, and Peak AI.
In its statement, the organization claims that for every £1 contributed by UK taxpayers, it provides a return of £15.
Indeed, the success of British technology, worth a trillion dollars and employing 4.8 million people, has been hailed in recent speeches by both the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer as a great British success story, and an important part of the UK economy. . Jeremy Hunt even name-checked Tech Nation alumni Monzo and Revolut in his own letter In Bloomberg on the 27thy January, as examples of the UK’s “fintech sector outperforming the world”.
Given Tech Nation’s apparent success, it is not clear why DCMS chose to award its £12.09m digital growth grant to Barclays Eagle Labs. a statment The post on the DCMS website says:
“The Digital Growth Grant was awarded following an open competition and rigorous evaluation process. Barclays Eagle Labs’ bid represents the best value for taxpayer money as the entire grant will be dedicated to supporting the UK technology ecosystem, with Eagle Labs absorbing all operational and people costs associated with implementing the activity programme. .
“It will enable Eagle Labs to launch new technology business growth programs as well as increase access to existing Eagle Labs services. The funding will double the number of mentoring sessions offered to technology companies to 1,500 annually.
“The Independent Application Evaluation Panel concluded that Eagle Labs is uniquely positioned to provide targeted support across the country. A dedicated regional partnership program will ensure that funding and training reflect the challenges faced by digital businesses in their region.”
Technology entrepreneurs and venture capitalists greeted the news of Tech Nation’s closure with dismay.
Ekaterina Almasque, General Partner, Early Stage European VC open ocean He said: “This is a difficult day for the UK tech industry. Tech Nation was set up to lead the UK’s digital industry during the height of the ‘silicon roundabout’. So it’s a worrying sign of the times when this body, which oversaw growth programs in start-ups and digital academies, International expansion efforts have had to close.
“Losing Tech Nation will deprive current and future entrepreneurs of an important network for the UK tech industry. Building these connections is crucial for a startup in its early days of growth. It can help a company obtain secure funding, find talented employees, or Just sharing ideas with peers in the industry.
“If the UK government wants to turn the UK into a new Silicon Valley, the industry needs public support. Deep tech companies in areas like quantum technology, for example, have timelines measured out over decades, and rely on incentives and targeted funding from Government to ensure continued progress: Many countries around the world are making these efforts to bolster their tech economy, and the UK must do the same if it is to avoid falling behind its peers.
“Simply branding plans with ‘silicon’ is not enough. We must ensure we apply the right processes to bring talented founders with innovative software ideas all the way from ideas on the board to stock listings in Piccadilly Circus.”
A DCMS spokesperson said:
“Tech Nation has supported us since 2017 to accelerate the growth and expansion of startups across the UK.
“Our decision to make the Digital Growth Grant competitive brings the funding in line with the majority of government grants. Barclays Eagle Labs has succeeded because its application represents the best value for taxpayer money, and will benefit the most startups and expansion over the next two years, and was awarded the highest score by a panel independent.
“We are committed to supporting the tech nation through March 2023.”