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Relaunched Tech Nation sets £10bn startup funding target

Carolyn Dawson relaunches Tech Nation at Birmingham Tech Week
Carolyn Dawson relaunches Tech Nation at Birmingham Tech Week

Entrepreneur support network Tech Nation officially relaunched on Monday with a pledge to help startups on its cohorts secure a cumulative £10bn in funding over the next five years.

Tech Nation closed operations in March after losing a bid for a £12m government grant – its primary source of income – to Barclays Eagle Labs.

Founders Forum Group, the entrepreneur community,  acquired the Tech Nation brand in April.

“Tech Nation 2.0” is now being spearheaded by Founders Forum Group CEO Carolyn Dawson, who is also the lead of London Tech Week. She will run it alongside Brent Hoberman, executive chair of Founders Forum and founder of Firstminute Capital.

Speaking at the opening event of Birmingham Tech Week, Dawson said the “needs of founders have evolved”. She added that Tech Nation 2.0 will boost startups’ international reach and “fuel the investment that will create the next generation of unicorns”.

Tech Nation pledged to ensure half of its startup network is based outside of London.

This would put it in line with the previous Tech Nation, with government-commissioned research finding that around half the participants in its last cohort of growth programmes were based in London, despite efforts to widen its regional reach.

The newly launched Tech Nation will continue to act as the endorsing partner for the Home Office on the Global Talent Visa until “at least” the end of 2024, providing some certainty to the future of popular visa scheme.

Tech Nation no longer receives public funding and has turned to commercial sponsors. HSBC Innovation Banking, formerly Silicon Valley Bank, is the founding partner of Tech Nation.

“Each of our organisations have outstanding track records of empowering the UK’s innovation ecosystem to reach and exceed its potential and propelling the UK to become a global leader,” said Erin Platts, CEO of HSBC Innovation Banking UK.

“Together, we will supercharge our shared mission to fuel growth by providing unparalleled support and opportunity for the innovation ecosystem, across all life stages and sectors.”

Tech Nation is carrying over four of its predecessor’s growth programmes.

As previously reported by UKTN, they are Libra, a programme for ethnic minority founders; Rising Stars, a competition for early-stage startups; The Climate Programme, an initiative for climate tech companies; and Future Fifty, a programme for late-stage businesses.

It has also announced a community for disabled founders or founders building technologies for disabled people.

“The time is ripe for a new champion for the most exciting new businesses,” said Hoberman. “We will fight for their needs, not only by representing the interests of founders with government, but also by helping them to build connections and grow from startup to scaleup.”

Read more: Barclays Eagle Labs: We’re not the ‘bogeyman’ – we’re ready to support UK tech