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Competition launched for £12 million grant to turbocharge UK tech growth

Successful bidder will accelerate the growth of tech start-ups and scale-ups across the UK
By Sarah Pearce,
  • Funding will tackle challenges facing small tech firms and grow regional support networks to level up investment and innovations around the country
  • £12 million awarded to support activity until 2025
A new government grant competition is launching to boost the growth of innovative tech start-ups and scale-ups in all corners of the country.

The £12.09 million Digital Growth Grant will focus on opening up access to skills training and advice, and providing support services to the digital and tech sector over two years.

Improving regional support networks for start ups and scale ups is a key focus for the funding, which will help spread the benefits of our world leading tech industry across the UK.

The grant will help to develop the next generation of success stories after the UK tech sector became the third globally to be valued at $1 trillion.

There are now more than 40 unicorns - companies valued at $1 billion - outside London and 100 regional futurecorns - businesses on track to gaining unicorn status - that are paving the way for future success across the country.

This funding will help cutting edge start ups and scale ups like these to create booming tech hubs throughout the UK and level up growth in these job and wealth-generating businesses.

Digital Minister Chris Philp said:
'Start ups and scale ups are hugely important to our thriving tech sector. This funding is dedicated to growing these innovative businesses wherever they are in the country, providing the support and skills they need to succeed and create good jobs and generate wealth.

'The successful applicant will play a vital role in making the UK the best place in the world to start and scale a tech business.'

The successful recipient will:
  • Deliver support services to the digital sector, particularly in transformative/emerging technologies These services should address key challenges faced by a wide range of companies from the seed funding stage to series A/B, their first or second round of financing;
  • Grow regional support networks for tech start ups and scale ups. Activities should deliver concrete improvements in three or more areas identified in DCMS’ Regional Ecosystems report as crucial to the success of the digital economy: investment, skills, innovation, infrastructure and business growth. Support should be tailored to local needs and tech specialisms, developed in partnership with local bodies.
  • Ensure founders and firms can access digital entrepreneurship and investment readiness training with tailored advice to help develop their skills to start and grow a tech business. The winner will need to clearly signpost start ups and scale ups to the digital skills initiatives in private and the public sector (DCMS’ local digital skills partnerships) and share information on the types of roles available in tech companies, the skills required to access these roles, and direction to low/no cost skills provisions to acquire those skills.
  • And promote and raise awareness of the strength and competitiveness of the UK tech sector with the aim of boosting investor confidence and inspiring the next generation of tech workers and entrepreneurs.
The government will consult the market to help refine the grant specification before applications open later in the year.

The competition will be run this summer by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the successful organisation will receive the funding from 1st April 2023. Further details on the eligibility criteria and application process will be published in due course.

The funding for this grant has previously been awarded to Tech Nation Group Limited. DCMS will continue to provide direct grant funding to Tech Nation until March 2023.

Click here to read more on the GOV.uk website.