Boost for tech startups as competition to run support programme opens

Organisations can now apply to deliver a UK-wide programme of activity supporting the UK’s digital and tech startups and scale ups.

The successful provider will deliver a programme from April 2023 to open up access to skills training and advice across the country, and improve regional support networks for startups and scaling companies in the digital and tech sector. This will help create more regional hubs with wealth-generating tech businesses offering high skilled jobs, benefitting startups outside of major cities.

Recent figures show the UK has overtaken China on investment secured by tech start ups, raising more than £12bn in venture capital funding in the first five months of 2022.

The successful provider and will receive a £12m Digital Growth Grant from the government to run the programme, which will help the UK’s early-stage tech firms build on their success. Organisations can apply individually or join together to bid to become the provider.

The programme will tackle some of the biggest challenges facing small and growing tech businesses, such as improving connections between startups and investors with better access to tailored mentoring and advice for founders. There will also be help to drive up diversity and representation in the tech workforce through skills training and sector networks.

Applicants should have a strong presence in the UK and a deep knowledge of the domestic digital sector to provide support for small businesses.

Digital Minister Chris Philp said: "The success of our startups and scaleups has driven the UK ahead of Europe and China to be second in the world for tech investment this year. We want every corner of the country to feel the benefits of tech success and we’re looking for an industry partner to help make this possible through the Digital Growth Grant."

The Digital Growth Grant will fund a nationwide programme to:

  • Deliver support services to the digital sector, with a focus on emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, advanced computing and quantum. These services should address key challenges faced by a wide range of companies from the seed funding stage to their first or second round of financing.
  • Grow regional support networks. Activities should improve local investment, innovation and business growth; be tailored to the needs and tech specialisms of different areas; and be developed in partnership with local bodies and existing tech groups.
  • Ensure founders and firms can access digital entrepreneurship training with tailored advice to help start and grow a tech business.
  • Clearly signpost startups and scaleups to existing initiatives in the private and the public sector across the UK that can help them access finance, talent and markets.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will be accepting applications until midday on 15 August 2022.