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Losing Tech Nation is one step forward, two steps back

Silicon Roundabout, the birthplace of Tech Nation.
Image credit: William Barton /

I was just as perplexed as others within the wider tech ecosystem by the government’s decision to strip Tech Nation of the £12m Digital Growth Grant and award it to Barclays Eagle Labs. For a government that recently reiterated its desire to become the “next Silicon Valley”, withdrawing funding from Tech Nation shows its approach to UK startup policy takes one step forward and two steps back.

Born out of the Silicon Roundabout tech boom in London, Tech Nation has been an integral part of the UK’s startup ecosystem for over a decade. Its forced closure is not just the loss of an organisation that, from the start, was designed as a non-profit to help support the UK’s tech ecosystem, but also many years of building up the human and social capital.

The decision is made all the more puzzling following the government’s recent focus on promoting the UK as a nation of innovation. The increase to the SEIS investment cap, announced during Kwasi Kwarteng’s ‘not so mini budget’, will let entrepreneurs raise more money in less time when it comes into effect this April....