A £2.5 billion Patient Capital programme and new startup visas were announced today by Prime Minister Theresa May in a raft of measures set to boost UK tech.
The government wants tech companies to benefit from government funding and greater access to talent and data under the new plans, announced at a roundtable with a group of leading companies as part of London Tech Week.
- A new £2.5 billion British Patient Capital programme, which is expected to attract a further £5 billion in private investment, to support UK companies with high growth potential to access the long-term investment they need to grow and go global.
- A new Start-Up Visa for entrepreneurs will launch in Spring 2019. This will replace a visa route which was exclusively for graduates, opening it up to talented business founders. This will include accelerators playing a role in the endorsement of candidates.
- Roger Taylor will be announced as Chair of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, alongside a consultation on the role of the Centre – a key part of plans for a new National Data Strategy.
- Opening up key parts of the Ordnance Survey’s valuable geospatial data to small businesses for free to boost competition in the digital economy.
- Two new Tech Hubs will be launched in Brazil and South Africa, to build innovative partnerships and develop skills, capability and business networks in these markets.
Over 180 tech founders, entrepreneurs and investors will also attend a reception at Downing Street this evening, which will celebrate the UK’s position as a world-leading destination for tech investment.
Read: UK tech extends lead over Europe
UK tech at an all-time high
Earlier this week we published a report with Dealroom which found that 13 of Europe’s 34 unicorns come from the UK, and that British tech businesses attracted $7.8bn of funding last year (almost double the amount received in 2016), compared to France and Germany’s combined total of $6bn.
Our recent Tech Nation Report 2018 found that the UK tech sector is expanding 2.6x faster than the rest of the economy, that there are now 2.1 million people employed in the digital tech economy, that a new digital tech startup is created in the UK every 50 minutes, and that London is the second most connected ecosystem on the planet.
So it’s fair to say that UK tech is riding high. And we’re really excited at Tech Nation to be building the national network of ambitious tech entrepreneurs to catalyse these achievements by bringing the best companies together to learn, connect and scale.
What the government say
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The measures we are announcing today will allow innovative British startups to invest in their future – and in the UK – by hiring more skilled people, expanding their business and exporting their expertise across the world. It’s a great time to be in tech in the UK, and our modern Industrial Strategy will drive continued investment, ensuring the nation flourishes in the industries of the future and creating more high-paying jobs.”
Chancellor Philip Hammond said: “The UK is home to some of the world’s most innovative companies and I want to make sure that they stay at the forefront of the tech revolution. So, British Patient Capital will provide an extra £2.5 billion for these cutting-edge business ensuring Britain remains one of the best places to start and grow a company.”
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Matt Hancock said: “Britain is a digital dynamo with the government and tech sector working together to help make this country the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business. We’re encouraging the best and brightest tech talent to come to the UK and creating the right conditions for our high growth digital businesses to thrive.
“We are spearheading digital innovation in exciting areas such as Artificial Intelligence and our network of tech hubs will connect us with some of the leading emerging technology nations across the world to share best practice.”
International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: “The UK is already a world-leading destination for tech investment with one tech start-up opening every 50 minutes. Our tech sector, with our strong legal system, skilled workforce and low taxation economy combine with our world class universities to make us the most attractive home for investment in Europe.
“As an international economic department, DIT will continue to encourage investment from overseas with a further series of events to attract inward business. Last month we launched a new online portfolio of opportunities worth £30bn, and in turn this will drive growth and create jobs in our economy.”