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Welsh government must tackle issues holding back tech sector, report says

Welsh Tech
Image credit: Billy Stock via Shutterstock

Wales could be transformed into one of the UK’s leading tech ecosystems if the Welsh government can overcome a number of challenges holding it back, according to a new report.

A report published by the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec), a UK startup policy nonprofit, identified a lack of diverse investment routes, isolation of founders and a brain drain as key barriers preventing the nation from reaching its full tech potential.

In an effort to tackle these challenges, the report made eight recommendations for the Welsh government to support its tech startup ecosystem.

Coadec suggested broadening the entry requirements of Angels Invest Wales, a network of angel investors in the region, along with committing to more regional co-investment funds to boost access to finances for Welsh startups.

Tech firms based in Wales are set to receive a funding boost in autumn, with the British Business Bank launching a £130m Welsh investment fund.

The report also recommended a government review into the state of Welsh university spinouts to support the commercialisation of homegrown tech. Alongside this, the report called for a review of how government funding can be used to help startups.

To tackle founder isolation, the report suggested investing in co-working spaces to encourage the development of startup hubs.

“Across the UK we’re seeing local ecosystems thrive – nowhere is this as true as Wales where we have local leaders working hand in hand with local founders to build great businesses,” said Dom Hallas, executive director of Coadec.

“But there’s more to be done and we hope that our new report can provide some insights from founders on how to do it. This is not the end of the conversation but what we hope is a valuable opening salvo.”