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Government competition promises £12 million fund for UK tech startups

Winning bidders will run a two-year programme to give smaller firms a seat at the table of the UK’s $1 trillion tech sector

Two men and a woman in business attire listen to a third businesswoman talk, while the man and woman on the right hold laptops. A reflection partially obscures the man and woman on the left of the frame.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has announced a new competition for organisations, inviting bids from organisations to deliver a programme supporting the UK’s tech startups and digital sector networks.

The winning bidder will be awarded £12.09 million in the form of a Digital Growth Grant, to be spent from April 2023 on assisting small and growing firms as part of a two-year programme.

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Individual organisations can apply or submit applications as part of a consortium. Applicants are required to be registered corporate entities, with a significant presence within, and knowledge of, the UK tech sector.

Following the valuation of the UK’s overall tech sector at $1 trillion this year, the government seeks to place special focus on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing in a move to consolidate the UK’s place as Europe’s tech investment capital. £12 billion of venture capital funding was raised within the UK in the first five months of this year alone.  

The DCMS highlights seed funding and initial financing rounds as areas in which small companies require support. It also states that the competition winner must take steps to improve investment, innovation, and business growth on a regional level, as outlined in the recent Regional Ecosystems report.

This will be achieved through partnership with local entities, with the aim of improving the digital economy across the UK, rather than simply boosting existing tech hubs in major cities. Additionally, the winner is expected to make existing firms and initiatives within the public and private sectors aware of startups and scaleups, to improve access to markets and talent across the board.

“The success of our startups and scale-ups has driven the UK ahead of Europe and China to be second in the world for tech investment this year,” said Digital Minister Chris Philip.

“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.”

Applications are open now and close at midday on August 15. The successful bidder will be notified in September, with activities to begin in April 2023.

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