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DCMS confirms Barclays Eagle Labs will take over £12m Digital Growth Grant

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The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has confirmed that Barclays Eagle Labs has been awarded the £12.09m Digital Growth Grant to boost small and scaling tech businesses across the UK.

The grant was previously administered by Tech Nation but had been the subject of speculation since the contract was put out to tender last year amidst concerns over Tech Nation having failed to become self-sufficient, relying heavily on government investment

Estimates suggest strengthening regional tech industries could grow the UK’s digital sector by around additional £41.5 billion by 2025 and create 678,000 jobs. The latest Digital Growth Grant builds on more than £42.2 million invested by the government to support tech start-ups and scale-ups since 2016.

Combined investment from Eagle Labs and the government is precicted to increase support for the tech sector so more than 22,000 businesses can benefit, with at least 80 per cent based outside London.

Barclays Eagle Labs already supports regional UK businesses through 38 physical sites as well as virtually across the country. Alongside industry partners it will now provide specialist support, funded by the Digital Growth Grant, for founders from underserved communities, for example expanding access to growth programmes for Black and female-founded businesses.

The grant will fund training resources and opportunities for entrepreneurs, including a Learning Management System providing virtual training to over 10,000 businesses and training modules created for young people to inspire the next generation of UK entrepreneurs.

Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy Paul Scully, said: “We want to unlock the potential of the next generation of start-ups and scale-ups and boost tech businesses in all corners of the country. Barclays Eagle Labs are digital industry experts and will help tens of thousands of tech firms and founders to achieve their dreams and create jobs and economic growth.”

Amanda Allan, director of Barclays Eagle Labs, added: “Eagle Labs’ vision is to make the UK tech sector an engine for growth and for the UK to be the best place in the world to start and grow a tech business.We have a track record of supporting over 8000 start-ups and high-growth businesses since we launched in 2015 and we’re proud that, due to our established Eagle Labs network, we can pass through all grant funds to our delivery partners and programmes, helping to maximise the impact of the grant in supporting the UK tech ecosystem.”

Tech Nation will continue to deliver remaining DCMS grant funding until March 2023. The Digital Growth Grant will be awarded to Barclays Eagle Labs from April 2023 and will fund activity until March 2025.

The DCMS added that decisions around funding Tech Nation receives from other government departments, including its role as a visa endorsing body, are not related to the outcome of this grant award and that, contrary to speculation, Barclays Eagle Labs will not take over any administration of visa schemes.

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