Small, fast growth companies need a unique type of support. The Future Fifty programme aims to provide this.
Earlier this month we celebrated the third anniversary of Tech City with the publication of a new report highlighting how London tech companies are contributing to economic growth, inward investment and high value jobs across the country.
Between 2009 and 2012 the number of tech/digital companies in London increased 76%, growing from 49,969 to 88,215. During the same period, 27% of all job growth in London came from the tech/digital sector, with employment in the sector in London growing by 16.6% against an overall growth rate of 0.3% in the UK.
Research by innovation organisation NESTA says 6% of our companies generate 54% of new jobs. It is imperative that we support growth-stage companies generating the bulk of these increases, ensuring that they continue to thrive and reach their full potential here in the UK.
Fostering an environment that allows such growth-stage businesses to continue scaling rapidly requires a different kind of support than early stage companies need. The Government has created the best package of incentives and programmes for start-ups but we needed to work this year to enable an equally world-class support package for high potential growth-stage businesses. The cornerstone of such support is the Future Fifty programme.
Launched by chancellor George Osborne earlier this year, this new programme has the express aim of providing bespoke support to growth-stage technology businesses, enabling them to scale rapidly and lay the foundations for their next major liquidity event. Future Fifty provides a single point of contact across the Government, as well as a comprehensive suite of private sector partner organisations, matching companies with a broad range of expertise, all driven by their specific needs.
The first fifty companies have now joined the scheme, selected from a long list of applications by an independent Advisory Panel.Ao.com, Photobox and Achica.com were all selected, as was etail consultancy Ecommera. The cohort includes many familiar names and I am incredibly proud to shine a spotlight on every one of these exciting world-class businesses that cross many sectors and industries.
The UK is one of the most internet-based economies and one of the leading countries in the world for e-commerce. The retail sector is undergoing an amazing time of technology-driven transformation and the innovative retail businesses represented in the first Future Fifty are driving this by building products and providing consumers with exciting new options.
Britain is nurturing the creation of these and many more world-class high growth retail businesses that are digital at their core. The collective challenge for all stakeholders now is to ensure they are able to flourish in this country, thereby also securing their long term contribution to the UK’s economic prosperity. Programmes like the Future Fifty are designed to do exactly this, and I look forward to helping more and more firms achieve success.
Philipp Stoeckl is director of the Future Fifty Programme