The amount of money the government spends on supporting tech companies through the Tech City UK organisation will not see a significant increase next year, Techworld can reveal.
Speaking at Bloomberg’s UK headquarters in Central London last night, Gerard Grech, who replaced Joanna Shields as Tech City UK CEO at the start of February, said: “We’re working with UKTI (UK Trade & Investment) and BIS (The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) but its comparable to last year’s, which was £1.73m.”
The three-year-old organisation’s new budget will be officially revealed on 1 April.
Grech's announcement, made in his first speech as CEO of Tech City UK, means the government is making much larger investments into UK technology elsewhere, such as through its innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, which has an annual budget of £440 million.
In order to utilise its relatively small budget, Grech said that Tech City UK needs to focus on building stronger partnerships with other organisations in order to have a more significant impact on the UK tech sector.
Tech City UK has already partnered with British telecoms giant, EE, on the roll out of ultra fast 4G around the Tech City area, and the partners on the Future Fifty programme, who are providing some of the UK’s fastest growing technology companies with advice and mentoring.
When asked what success looks like for Tech City UK, the former DJ turned Blackberry executive said: “If you think about it, we’re 11 people. The assets of the organisation are expertise and the brand itself. Through that we deliver programmes and initiatives like you see with #FloodHack. Also, it's about how well we are informing policy at the right levels of government and making change happen.
“I want to be as data driven as possible and make sure that we’re good at prioritising the issues of the day. The programmes themselves will have specific KPIs (key performance indicators) attached to them."
In conclusion, he said: "[Tech City] is about advocacy, influence, making sure we get as much as we can out of the partnerships, scaling the partnerships, and getting a feel for the community.”
Tech City UK had an initial annual budget of £2.1 million but reports suggest this was slashed following criticisms over the amount the organisation was spending on events and entertaining. Since then, Tech City UK has refused to reveal exactly how it spends taxpayer money and what its target numbers are for specific programmes.