Applications are now open for Tech Nation’s three leading growth programmes

Tech Nation, September 17, 2019 4 min read

Applications are now open for Tech Nation’s three flagship growth programmes. Catering for venture-backed and bootstrapped scaling startups and scaleups at Seed, Series A and Series B+ stages or equivalent, Rising Stars, Upscale and Future Fifty are each designed to provide tailored support key stage-specific growth challenges, as well as invaluable opportunities to network and consult with experts and peers.

Whether you’ve just raised Seed funding or are preparing for IPO, we have a growth programme for you, so read on and find out which programme is the best fit.

Mike Jackson, Entrepreneur Success Director, commented: “Tech Nation’s 2019 annual report revealed that scaleup investment in the UK has hit a record high, increasing by an astonishing 61% year-on-year. Nevertheless, challenges remain. For the UK to maintain its position as a scaleup nation and continue its global growth, we need to do more to curate learning opportunities and create fertile ground for even greater success in the future. These three growth programmes offer the support the tech companies of the future need, so UK tech can continue to compete on the global stage.”

Rising Stars 2.0

Rising Stars is an exciting pitch competition for early-stage companies, designed to raise the profile of innovative tech companies across the UK. Entrants are supported throughout the application stage, finalists are chosen from each region of the UK and invited to pitch to a high profile panel of judges, in front of an audience of industry peers, investors and press.

“Rising Stars is a competition designed to give you a platform to raise your profile and help you make connections.  We want Rising Stars to elevate the most exciting startups from all over the UK and support them in taking their business to the next level.” Esme Caulfield, Programme Lead, Rising Stars

Three semi-finalist from each of 11 UK regions will be selected by an expert judges, with 20 finalists pitching to become one of the 10 2020 Tech Nation Rising Stars. Winners will receive an impressive prize package including facilitated introductions to investors, speaking opportunities and national press coverage. Previous winners include Seed Legals and Vet-AI. Applications close on 3 November.

“Microsoft are proud to be sponsors of Tech Nation’s Rising Stars competition, we find huge value in being involved in the journey of emerging tech founders as they grow their businesses” Sarah Reveillard, Microsoft and Rising Stars judge


  • Seed to pre-Series A funding stage
  • OR If revenue focused, generating annual revenues below £1m
  • A digital tech business with a product or service to sell (no agencies or consultancies, sorry)
  • At least one active client or pilot
  • Able to demonstrate market traction
  • Company incorporated between 1-3 years
  • UK HQ

“Tech Nation has been nothing short of a blessing, especially at a time when Carbon Performance was looking to expand its footprint, acquire strategic network, and raise investments. We are very fortunate to have been on Tech Nation Rising Stars programme alongside some of the most disruptive start-ups in the UK and are proud to be one of the finalists as well.” Revannth N Murugesan, CEO, Carbon Performance

Apply now

The companies will have access to support from the programme partners; BDO Drive, Microsoft, Soldo, Talent Works International and TLT, whose expertise and networks are an added benefit of taking part in the competition.

Upscale 5.0

Now entering its 5th year, our mid-stage programme Upscale helps the UK’s most promising tech companies accelerate their growth and unlock key scaling challenges. With an impressive list of scale coaches and experts, this established, curated programme is designed to reflect companies’ scaling journey.

Exploring fundamental growth challenges, Upscale includes sessions delivered by expert scale coaches who have been through it all, invaluable opportunities to network with peers and the prestige of becoming part of the Tech Nation Alumni. Previous Upscale cohorts have included Monzo and Bloom & Wild. Applications close on 24 October.

“Quite simply, it’s the best scaleup programme around. It’s an incredibly well thought-through format, and is an unparalleled learning & networking opportunity – not only for the Founders, but also for the whole senior leadership team. I can’t recommend it highly enough!” Tessa Clarke, Co-founder and CEO, OLIO


  • VC-backed, having raised Series A round
  • OR If revenue focused, generating annual revenues between £1m – £5m
  • Achieving 20% month-on-month growth
  • UK HQ

“Upscale supports companies at what is a critical inflection point for their growth. Our values of honesty, intimacy and trust allows our cohorts to form meaningful bonds, and overcome their key scaling challenges, not just by learning from scale coaches, but from their peers.” Parveen Dhanda, Head of Growth Programmes

Apply now

The companies will have access to support from the programme partners; CBRE, Cooley, RSM, Silicon Valley Bank and Talent Works International, whose expertise and networks are an added benefit of being on the programme.

Future Fifty 8.0

Now in its 8th year, our late-stage programme, Future Fifty, brings together the country’s most successful tech companies to build a powerful network and problem-solve with peers.

“The UK tech ecosystem has evolved substantially over the past eight years, but Future Fifty remains one of the most prestigious programmes around. With more than £8 billion raised, 9 IPOs and 30 M&As, the calibre of the Future Fifty is high, and we’re excited to see who will join next.” Parveen Dhanda, Head of Growth Programmes

Future Fifty supports companies in achieving their global ambitions, creating jobs and opportunities across the UK, and inspiring the next generation of tech entrepreneurs, founders and businesses.

The Future Fifty alumni includes some of the most recognised tech companies, from Skyscanner and Farfetch, to Deliveroo and Funding Circle. Applications close on 5 November.

“Being part of Future Fifty not only provides us with direct benefits, such as peer-learning, but ensures that our experiences help shape the wider scale-up ecosystem.” Rhydian Lewis CEO, RateSetter (London)


  • Series B+ funding stage
  • OR If revenue focused, generating annual revenues over £5m
  • Achieving 50% year-on-year growth
  • HQ’d in UK

Apply now

The companies will have access to support from the programme partners; Barclays, CBRE, RSM and Talent Works International, whose expertise and networks are an added benefit of being on the programme.

If you’re still not sure which growth programme your company fits into, try our clever selector tool. And if you are in the middle of your own scaling journey, use our Ultimate Guide to Scaling for advice and resources.

Growth, Programmes, Tech Nation news, Early Stage, Late Stage, Mid Stage