Support for “a future Science and Technology Superpower” in the UK

Guest post from Dr. Chris Moore, Technology Specialist, UK Department for Business & Trade on support provisions available for startups and tech companies.

The Department of Business & Trade supports UK-based companies to export globally, and overseas-headquartered companies to set up in the UK. Within the Department, the Technology team supports the Government’s ambition to see the UK established as a Science and Technology Superpower by 2030.

In the Technology team, we focus on high growth, high potential businesses, particularly in sub-sectors such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), 5G and Future Telecoms, Cyber Security, Semiconductors, Photonics, and Quantum. If you are a UK-based company, in any of these tech sectors and would like to receive our newsletter, please send us an email.

#3 in the world

In 2022, [Dealroom data shows] the UK became just the third country in the world to have a tech sector valued at $1 trillion, with more ‘unicorn’ billion-dollar tech startups being created than Germany, France and Sweden combined. UK fast-growing tech companies raised near-record levels of funding at £24 billion.

Tech export support

For UK-based companies looking to trade globally, we provide a range of services designed to support companies new to export as well as experienced exporters in their international journey. For instance the UK Export Academy gives businesses the know-how to sell to customers around the world by learning from experts in international trade and the Export Support Service provides answers to individual exporting questions.

Specific opportunities for exporters area are also highlighted on DBT’s Export portal and the E-exporting programme helps companies get their brands to millions of global consumers and grow their business through online exports. The Events page gives details about upcoming trade shows & events, supported by DBT, and free to download Export guides for individual countries give an introduction to all major markets around the world (e.g. Brazil). A good place to get started is the Advice page on the Portal.

Trade missions and roadshows

In the Technology team, we support companies to participate in key events such as Mobile World Congress and Web Summit. In the UK we run regular events to support companies to explore new markets such as the North America Roadshow which ran in 12 cities across the UK in 2023.

Export credit & insurance

A key part of the export process is managing cash flow: UK Export Finance is the UK’s export credit agency. In the last five years they’ve provided £14 billion of support for exports and international trade. You can get finance and insurance from the UK Government.

Expanding into the UK

Many companies that choose to set-up in the UK find that they can access clients more easily than in other markets as the UK remains the number one destination for companies to set-up their European Headquarters. The UK is the biggest e-commerce and m-commerce market in Europe; UK consumers spend more per head online than any other country. Since UK consumers are early adopters, having moved from online to mobile, driven by use of data analytics and AI, there is a significant market opportunity for inward investors.

Through our network of more than 100 offices located in UK embassies and consulates around the world, we can provide bespoke support to overseas companies that are considering the UK as the next stage of their global growth plan. From market intelligence to guidance about which UK location might be the most appropriate, and support for the set-up process itself, we can assist at every stage of the internationalisation journey.

Customised soft landing

The UK offers world-class talent, high investment and a robust, business-friendly environment to reliably expand, trade and invest. We publish an Investment Atlas which highlights opportunities by region and sector. The UK has more than 30 separate digital clusters across the whole of the country, many of which have their own tailored soft-landing programmes for early-stage companies.

Many clusters have specific expertise in a technology vertical or applications in a given sector. For example: Edinburgh has strengths in AI and data science, supported by the Bayes Centre; Sheffield represents a strong cluster of edtech companies; Belfast is a renowned centre for cyber security, complemented by the Centre for Secure IT (CSIT); South Wales is the location of the Compound Semiconductors Application Catapult (part of the UK’s network of innovation centres); Manchester is home to the Photo Science Institute, and also where Graphene was discovered.

For overseas companies interested to set-up in the UK, we provide a range of services to support market entry including setting-up a UK entity and bank account, choice of location, visas, talent selection & recruitment, routes to market and growth opportunities.

To take the next step, get in touch today