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Non-profit Tech Nation to close after losing UK government grant

Written by Tue 31 Jan 2023

The non-profit startup accelerator, Tech Nation, has announced it will cease all operations following the termination of its core government grant funding.

The non-profit revealed in a statement that the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) awarded funding to a programme run by Barclays Bank Eagle Labs.

“By delivering services and insights impartially across Britain, Tech Nation has made a huge and positive impact on the UK’s digital economy. The UK now boasts over 20 places with one tech unicorn or more, five times what it was in 2014,” said Gerard Grech, the company’s Founding CEO.

What is Tech Nation?

Founded in 2010 with a mission to serve the UK’s tech ecosystem , Tech Nation supported startups and scaleups through growth programmes, coaching, visa schemes, digital academies, and sandboxes. Among 5,000 business, alumni includes Monzo, Revolut, Bloom & Wild, Zilch, Just Eat, Darktrace, Marshmallow, Skyscanner, Peak and Deliveroo.

“It is saddening and a real loss for the UK, that Tech Nation and these important programmes will no longer be continuing,” said Tom Adeyoola, Co-Founder of Capital Angel Network and Metail.

Scaleups create over 90% of all UK tech jobs. Tech Nation stated they are proud that the scaleups supported by them have ‘disproportionately thrived’, and 95% of startups on its accelerator programmes have gone on to scale, despite 80% of startups failing within their first 2-5 years.

“Tech Nation – and before it Tech City – has been so critical to building the UK’s rocket ship of a digital economy. It’s hard to imagine where we would be today had it not existed,” said Daniel Korski, CEO of Public.

Tech Nation reportedly delivered £15 return on every £1 funded by the UK Government.

What’s next for the nation?

The company will cease operations on 31 March 2023 once its existing DCMS contract expires. Though, in the immediate term, its visa scheme will continue.

Tech Nation made exhaustive attempts to explore opportunities to continue without the core government grant funding. The decision to cease operations was made after confirming it was not viable as a standalone business for critical mass and impact. Continuing without the funding would also compromise the non-profit status as a Public Interest company.

A redundancy consultation process will begin for all permanent employees.

However, the team at Tech Nation are not giving up, as they are ‘actively seeking interested parties to acquire its portfolio of assets to take forward in a new guise’.

With the UK Government’s plan to become the most innovative country in the world, Tech Nation suggests ‘now is the moment for the UK Government to set a clear vision with coherent plans for the next decade of tech scaleup growth and success, where the UK can race away from European countries even further and truly compete with Silicon Valley’s finest.’

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Written by Tue 31 Jan 2023

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