Government should prioritise product-led startups, says UKTCG

UK Tech Cluster Group report calls on government to prioritise startups, provide test beds for digital innovation and establish programmes to enable tech careers for people who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19

The UK Tech Cluster Group (UKTCG) has urged the government to build more early-stage programmes to support the creation of product-led startups ahead of the publication of its digital strategy later this year. 

The UKTCG, which is a self-assembled group of individuals and organisations coming together to support tech clusters and businesses across the country, has published a report, setting out seven key recommendations to unlock the sector’s potential following the economic impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic

The recommendations include building programmes across the country to support new product-led startups, aiming to drive a new flow of innovation and provide opportunities for people who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19. 

The report, titled The recovery roadmap, also calls on government to establish tech careers programmes for people who have suffered job losses during the pandemic. 

Another recommendation includes establishing a specialist programme to help public sector bodies “to better utilise digital solutions”. “Senior public sector managers need support to help them become digitally focused critical thinkers through the creation of common standards and best practices,” the report said.

The report also called for a greater emphasis “on providing ‘test beds’ to facilitate close-to-market digital innovation”. 

“Giving tech businesses more opportunities to test, trial and showcase their ideas will provide a gateway to help digital startups and SMEs connect to their customers. It can also provide use cases of the ways that digital technology, built in the UK, can impact industries around the world,” the report said.

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UKTCG chair David Dunn said the report brings together over 400 policy makers from across the country “to share best practice and learn how to practically support our communities, could and should be the start of a movement to uplift tech and digital communities across the country”.

“The tech and digital industry’s importance to our economy goes unchallenged. We need to ensure people understand it, can access its knowledge and use it to drive their businesses, whether they’re startups or global giants,” he said. 

“For us to succeed there is an understanding that the whole of the UK must be supported and help needs to be offered, and available wherever required, on the ground rather than directed centrally.” 

The report was published following a UKTCG conference in June, where digital minister Oliver Dowden highlighted he important role digital transformation has played both during the coronavirus pandemic, and as the country begins to recover from it. 

Speaking at the conference, Dowden said the pandemic “has turbo-charged the digital transformation of almost every part of our days – of our workplaces, our businesses, the way we shop and stay in touch with family, and the way we use public services”.

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