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Tech City was established in 2011 to support the growth of smaller tech companies in London, offering access to mentorship, expertise and accelerator programmes. The organisation expanded to northern England in 2014, creating Tech North.
Last November, Tech City announced that the southern and northern branches would merge to form Tech Nation, which became operational on 1 April 2018.
At the launch in November, Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK, said the new group would push to help the UK stand at the forefront of technology innovation.
“Tech Nation will help transform London and the UK from a series of standalone tech hubs into a powerful national network that will place the UK firmly at the top of global tech rankings,” he said. “This will ensure that conditions for tech talent and international investment become even more attractive at this crucial point in the UK’s history.”
Richard Gregory, director of Tech North, said the merged organisation would enable startups from across the country to tap into its resources.
“It is this great track record [of Tech North programmes] that we now intend to share with other regions across the UK so that we can forge one great Tech Nation, all pulling together to make sure we remain one of the leading places in the world to start or grow a digital tech business,” he said.
The government has pledged £21m for Tech Nation over the next four years, which prime minister Theresa May says shows how important technology innovation is to the country’s wider economic growth.
“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,” she said. “It is absolutely right that this dynamic sector, which makes such an immense contribution to our economic life and to our society, has the full backing of government.”
Read more about Tech City and Tech North
- A Tech City report claims the UK is leading the pack in Europe for digital innovation.
- Tech North and EY have found that there are 1.4 job vacancies for every digital worker in the north of England.
- Tech North has begun a project to address the skills gap by filling 24 digital vacancies in 24 hours.
Tech Nation has three main aims, the first of which is to encourage innovation throughout the UK through national programmes and networking.
The second objective is to reduce the country’s skills shortage by developing Tech City’s Digital Business Academy courses, which will teach entrepreneurs skills such as branding and product development to prepare them for work in a digital business.
Tech Nation will also have access to more talent entering the country as the Home Office is doubling the number of visas for people with exceptional talent to enter and work in the UK from 1,000 to 2,000 a year.
The third aim is to support startups in emerging tech sectors, such as artificial intelligence or financial technology (fintech), by enabling companies to interact and learn from each other.
Tech City has already begun to support startups outside London after selecting the latest batch to join its Future Fifty accelerator scheme. Of the 26 firm chosen for the scheme, 31% are from outside the capital, which is more than double the figure in 2016.