According to media reports Tech Nation, the UK startup organisation that helped to bring thousands of talented tech workers to the UK, has announced that it will cease operations in March after the UK government pulled out key funding.
Tech Nation, a UK-based startup organization that attracted thousands of tech workers to the country, will shut down in March due to the UK government’s withdrawal of funding. With involvement in almost one-third of the nation’s 122 unicorns since 2011 and management of the UK’s global tech talent visa program, Tech Nation played a crucial role in making the UK a leading startup hub.
Despite not being a government organization, its operations were dependent on government funding, which was cut and redirected to Barclays Bank last year.
In September last year, it was reported that the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) had decided to give £12m of grant funding, which Tech Nation had relied on, to Barclays Bank.
Without the grant funding, Tech Nation, a non-profit, can no longer run its accelerators, reports, or visa programs and will have to close.
Tech Nations contribution to UK’s economy
According to Tech Nations CEO,
- “Tech Nation has made a huge and positive impact on the UK’s digital economy. The UK now boasts over 20 places with one tech unicorn or more, five times what it was in 2014.”
What happens now
Barclays’ technology incubator, Eagle Labs, will use the two-year government grant to establish new initiatives to support tech firms. Since 2015, Eagle Labs has collaborated with startups throughout the UK.
However, it will not assume responsibility for administering the UK’s global talent visa program, which was previously managed by Tech Nation. Tech Nation has informed the UK Home Office that its visa scheme will end, but will continue until then.
Some stakeholders are asking the UK government to consider turning Tech Nation into a public institution so it could continue working for the UK tech ecosystem.
However, the government was unable to make a commitment.
More tech redundancy looms
Due to the UK government’s withdrawal of funding, Tech Nation has initiated redundancy procedures for its 70 full-time staff.
The company is also examining possibilities for selling its assets, including growth programs, research, and databases.
What this means to tech founders in Nigeria considering work abroad
Tech Nation has been administering the UK’s global talent visa to help founders and tech workers to move to the UK to start and join high-growth businesses.
More than 3,000 people have been endorsed through the scheme. A good number of Nigerian tech founders relocated through this scheme.
This new move may not be unconnected to the global tech layoffs, and the future is definitely uncertain.
About Tech Nation
Established in 2011, Tech Nation operated numerous accelerator programs aimed at assisting UK startups and scaleups to grow and expand globally.
Its alumni consist of successful UK startups, including Monzo, Revolut, Depop, Darktrace, Ocado, Skyscanner, and Deliveroo. The organization also launched initiatives specifically catering to founders from ethnic minority communities and those in the climate tech industry.