Start-ups across the UK will receive access to the latest scientific research, business coaching and help to raise capital from universities and business experts.

Announced today (Thursday 19 October), seven organisations are to receive funding to run programmes to support tech and digital businesses.

Local programmes in cities including Edinburgh, Exeter and Sheffield will be match-funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology’s Digital Growth Grant, delivered by Barclays Eagle Labs. Each organisation has received up to £250,000 to match their investments in new and existing programmes that help local tech businesses.

Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, Paul Scully said:

Britain’s innovative tech start-ups span the nation and drive global innovation forward. We are delighted to boost these programmes to provide on-the-ground support for founders in their local areas, giving them the help they need to thrive.

Directly supporting businesses in this way is the cornerstone of our Digital Growth Grant, which champions a future where every corner of the UK benefits from the job creation and growth technology provides. 

The programmes provide a variety of support including access to digital services, entrepreneurship training, and access to networking and fundraising opportunities.

Each programme has a specialist focus dependent on local specialisms, with Edinburgh backing “deep tech” start-ups which are converting scientific discoveries into businesses. Other regions are focussing support on tech start-ups helping tackle climate change, those supporting creative industries, or driving innovation in the NHS.

Greentech Accelerator, Wales: Tramshed Tech will run this 12-week programme to help climate tech businesses by providing training, expert advice, network support, with access to funding.  

Advanced Wellbeing Accelerator, Sheffield: With Digital Growth Grant funding, Sheffield Hallam University is able to run its third year of a start-up support scheme for high-potential health and wellbeing tech businesses, building on the regions fast-evolving digital health tech cluster.

Venture Builder Incubator, Edinburgh: The expansion of this University of Edinburgh programme will give researchers access to a cut of £100,000, access to AI research facilities and a ‘National Robotarium’ to convert their inventions into innovations and businesses across robotics and more.

Season 2 of the Ecosystem Partnership Programme opens for applications from October 19th, where organisations can apply for matched funding for activity being delivered between 1 April 2024 and 31 March 2025.

Today also marks six months since Barclays Eagle Labs started leading the delivery of the Digital Growth Grant. In this time, Barclays Eagle Labs has initiated nine accelerator programmes, including the Black Venture Growth Programme for underrepresented founders, helping to foster and grow the digital economy.

Matt Corbidge, Director, Barclays Eagle Labs said:

We are proud to be able to support these projects which are designed to help early-stage tech entrepreneurs across the UK.  It’s vitally important that start-ups and scale-ups are supported particularly in growing sectors in AI, climate-tech and the digital space.  

Using our Ecosystem Partnership Programme, we’re allocating funding to organisations that are already plugged into their national and regional ecosystems.  We hope these projects will go a long way to supporting start-ups and scale-ups, which are vital to growing local economies throughout the UK.

The full list of partners includes: 

  • Conception X
  • Functional Skills UK
  • Sunderland Software City
  • SETsquared Partnership
  • Sheffield Hallam University
  • Tramshed Tech
  • University of Edinburgh

The £12 million Digital Growth Grant builds on more than £42.2 million invested by the government to support tech startups and scaleups since 2016. The two-year grant, awarded to Barclays Eagle Labs, was launched in April 2023.

Among a range of support initiatives, including growth programmes, mentoring sessions and learning materials, the grant funds the Ecosystem Partnership Programme, which allocates funding to business support organisations that are embedded in their local entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The first round of funding under the Ecosystem Partnership Programme opened for applications in April 2023, for activity to be delivered by 31 March 2024. For more information on the Ecosystem Partnership Programme please visit the Barclays Eagle Lab website.

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