By Oliver Smith on Tuesday 15 November 2022
Coadec organised the letter which has already been signed by 100+ UK entrepreneurs.
Over 100 UK startup entrepreneurs, including a significant number from the fintech sector, have signed an open letter calling on the UK Government to rethink the upcoming award of its Digital Growth Grant.
The £12m grant has previously been awarded to Tech Nation, a non-profit that runs the UK’s global talent visa, promotes the tech sector internationally, and operates a series of programmes to support startups at different stages of growth—including the Future Fifty list of leading late-stage tech startups.
However, earlier this year the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) put this £12m worth of funding up for grabs, and it was reported by The Sunday Times in September that Barclays Bank had won the bid.
“We support the evolution of our ecosystem, and the help startups need has changed over the past ten years. But we are concerned that this change risks throwing out the baby with the bathwater - and in this moment of crisis, the message this sends about what government thinks of the sector is damning,” the letter explains.
Among the 100+ signatories are familiar fintech faces, including Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of Wise, Jeff Lynn, co-founder and executive chair of Seedrs, Philip Belamant, CEO of Zilch, and Robert Pasco, CEO and co-founder of Plend.
Three objectives are outlined, that the Government commits to supporting startups in the long-term, that any beneficiary of Digital Growth Grant funding be “grounded in the startup ecosystem… not looking to ride on its coattails”, and that any new arrangement be additive rather than removing support.
Since September much has changed in UK politics, and the original decision to put the Digital Growth Grant out to market was made long before the current Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Michelle Donelan MP, was in post.