The Chancellor will today hail the economic importance of the UK’s world-leading technology sector as he brings together some of Britain’s biggest tech firms at an inaugural conference to showcase their talent.
At the first-ever Treasury Connect conference in East London, Rishi Sunak will bring together the CEOs of the UK’s biggest investors and tech firms, including Funding Circle and Monzo, and lead four sessions on access to finance, Fintech, talent and life sciences.
He will also announce that government support during the pandemic through the Future Fund, which enabled UK-based firms to apply for convertible loans to support continued growth and innovation, has landed taxpayers with stakes in more than 150 high-growth firms.
These include Vaccitech PLC, which co-invented the COVID-19 vaccine with the University of Oxford and that has been supplied by AstraZeneca to 170 countries worldwide, and Century Tech, an innovative education platform that uses AI to personalise learning for children.
Speaking ahead of the Treasury Connect conference, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
The UK’s world-leading tech sector employs more than one fifth of people in the UK’s biggest cities, accounting for 9% of the UK workforce. Despite the disruption caused by Covid-19, last year a record-breaking £11.2 billion was invested in the UK’s tech companies.
The Government stood behind the sector during the pandemic by launching the Future Fund, in May 2020, which has supported nearly 1,200 firms, in sectors such as digital tech and life sciences, with £1 billion of investment. The scheme also helped these start-ups and innovative firms to secure funding from third party investors who had to at least match the government funding on each loan.
Latest data, released today by the British Business Bank shows some of these early investments have now turned into stakes in these high-growth firms, showing the scheme is working.
This includes healthcare company Cipher Surgical Limited which has developed products to maintain a clear view of the laparoscope used by surgeons when carrying out abdominal keyhole surgery, making operating time quicker and cost less.
Other companies that have Government stakes include Ripple Energy, a firm that allows customers to own shares of a wind farm.
Catherine Lewis La Torre, CEO, British Business Bank said:
Today’s news follows the £375 million Future Fund: Breakthrough which opened for applications in July to help high-growth, R&D intensive companies bring game-changing technologies to market. In the short period of time the programme has been open for applications, there has been strong interest, with the scheme open for applications on a rolling basis to R&D intensive companies with well-established UK operations.
The Government’s existing programmes to support innovative firms looking to scale up, include the Life Sciences Investment Programme and British Patient Capital’s £2.5 billion ‘patient capital’.
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