THE GOVERNMENT has given a £21m boost to a technology programme that has supported firms such as Zopa and Funding Circle as part of a range of measures to boost the tech sector.
The funding will make Tech City UK and Tech North one national organisation called Tech Nation and help grow government-backed startup support programmes such as Founders Network, Northern Stars, Future Fifty and Upscale.
Eleven regional hubs will help entrepreneurs in emerging tech sectors, such as artificial intelligence and fintech, by connecting them to peers and potential investors across the country and by offering tailored development programmes.
A reception to celebrate the technology sector will be held at Downing Street tonight, with attendees including peer-to-peer lenders such as Zopa, RateSetter and Funding Circle.
“This new funding is an important part of our plans to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business, with the benefits spread right across the country,” Matt Hancock, digital minister, said.
P2P lenders Zopa, RateSetter and Funding Circle are alumni of the Future Fifty programme.
“Tech City UK has been an excellent advocate for the tech sector, understanding the needs of startups and scaling businesses and representing this coherently to government,” Samir Desai, co-founder of Funding Circle, said.
“The programme they deliver is comprehensive and has supported us across a range of issues and business priorities.”
Meanwhile, the government has also doubled the number of visas available to attract digital talent to 2,000 and set aside £40m to fund two new programmes: one for artificial intelligence in public services and another to test young people’s skills against simulated online cyber threats.
“Our digital tech sector is one of the UK’s fastest-growing industries, and is supporting talent, boosting productivity, and creating hundreds of thousands of good, high-skilled jobs up and down the country,” said prime minister Theresa May.
“Technology is at the heart of our modern industrial strategy, and we will continue to invest in the best new innovations and ideas, in the brightest and best talent, and in revolutionary digital infrastructure.”
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