After over a decade of serving the UK scale-up tech ecosystem, Tech Nation announces it will cease operation from 31st March 2023, leaving the future of both the UK’s existing Global Talent visa and proposed tech visa schemes uncertain.
This is a direct result of the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DMCS) withdrawing their grant funding, which Tech Nation has been relying on to run its accelerators, reports, and visa programmes. The DMCS has now decided to grant the £12 million funding to Barclay’s tech incubator Eagle Labs. Eagle Labs has worked with start-ups across the UK since 2015.
Tech Nation emphasised that it is “not viable” to run its operations without government funding, as it is structured as a non-profit and public interest company.
Tech Nation is a non-profit organisation which has helped champion and support over 5000 start-ups in the UK. It has worked with nearly a third of the country’s unicorn companies and had run the Global Tech Talent Visa.
Alumni include many of Britain’s most successful tech companies including Monzo, Deliveroo, Depop and Skyscanner to name a few.
It has helped drive the UK tech sector to be the number one in Europe and third globally (after US and China).
In light of Tech Nation’s planned closure, 415 tech industry figures signed an open letter calling for the decision to be reconciled.
Tech Nation is the official Home Office designated endorsing body authorised to endorse individuals with expertise in technology under the Global Talent Visa. This visa enabled ‘exceptional’ talent from around the world to live and work in the UK. This allowed oversea tech figures to contribute their cutting-edge expertise putting the UK at the forefront of international tech arena. Tech Nation has notified the Home Office that it will also cease to be an endorsing body.
It has yet to be confirmed who will be taking over Tech Nation’s role in administering the UK’s Global Talent Visa, leaving the future of tech strand of the visa uncertain. However, it has been reported that the Home Office is working closely with Tech Nation to explore long-term solutions.
With the removal of the grant funding, the UK will have to consider new mechanisms to continue their race to be the next Silicon Valley.
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