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Industry: Technology

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 94369, tabled on 16 December 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what growth-stage support is available to the UK’s tech sector.

Answered on

6 January 2022

The tech sector benefits from a range of support measures, including research grants and loans from Innovate UK; networks and industry contacts accessed through Catapults; and the government’s new ‘Help to Grow’ schemes that will help smaller businesses across the UK learn new skills, reach new customers and boost profits.

Companies at all stages of growth, including those operating in the tech sector, can access the advice and support they need through the Business Support Helpline, the British Business Bank’s finance hub, and government services available through GOV.UK.

Government support for the tech sector is coordinated by the Digital Economy Council, working with private sector bodies including Tech Nation and Tech UK. Tech Nation supports tech entrepreneurs at every stage of the business lifecycle. Its growth-stage programme, Upscale, is now in its seventh year and is providing 60 hours of expert support and coaching, spread over six months, to a cohort of 30 founders and senior leadership teams.

The British Business Bank crowds-in private capital to the tech sector through its commercial subsidiary, British Patient Capital (BPC), and through regional funds in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the Midlands and the North of England. In announcing its 2021 results, BPC noted that 26 of its 51 fund investments were in the ‘venture growth’ space, defined as funds that invest at Series B onwards.

In addition to its own investments, BPC also runs Future Fund: Breakthrough, a £375 million programme focused on growth-stage companies. The fund announced its first tech investment on 17 November 2021, in the £60 million Series D round of Bristol-based Ultraleap, a provider of machine-learning-based hand tracking software.