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UK ramps up efforts to support high-growth tech companies

Focus on mentorship and access to funding

Efforts are ramping up in both the public and private sector to enable high-growth businesses in the UK to scale rapidly and reach their full potential.

On the public sector side, Chancellor George Osborne and Joanna Shields, Chief Executive of Tech City, today unveiled a new programme designed to connect high-growth businesses with tailored information and expertise, helping accelerate their growth and laying the foundations for a successful listing in the UK.

The programme, called "The Future Fifty," will offer eligible companies a single point of contact to guide them through, and take advantage of multiple publicly-funded schemes and incentives that will further extend their growth.

This includes support on exports and expansion into new markets via UKTI's Overseas Market Introductory Service that spans 96 posts throughout the globe, access to private sector International Trade Advisers and priority placement to trade missions and business delegations, and mentorship from service organisations, including law firms, banks, accountants and financial intermediaries.

They will also receive advice on immigration issues including the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa and Exceptional Talent Routes, as well as advice on structuring partnerships and deals in overseas markets, and the opportunity to take part in a programme of events to help reach investors, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders.

"There is a rising tide of successful, high-growth businesses in this country. But if we want to enable them to achieve their true potential, transform the markets in which they operate and generate significant economic benefit, we must do everything we can to help them grow," said Joanna Shields, Chief Executive of Tech City.

"While the UK already has some of the best and far-reaching support available for entrepreneurs, too many companies leave our shores when they become successful. The Future Fifty programme will reverse this trend and ensure that the UK remains the best place in Europe to imagine, start and grow a business."

Meanwhile in the private sector, 70 of the UK's top technology entrepreneurs and business professionals have pledged to volunteer at least one day a month to mentor start-ups and growing SMEs through the Royal Academy of Engineering's new Enterprise Hub, which launches on 29 April.

Volunteer mentors are Fellows of the Academy, including Dr Mike Lynch, co-founder of Autonomy, Sir Robin Saxby, former Chief Executive and Chairman of ARM, and Sir David Payne, serial entrepreneur and Director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton.

The Enterprise Hub will aim to take the "best of the best" early stage companies and provide them with a long-term package of mentoring, training and support. Fellows, many of whom have founded and led some of the UK's most successful engineering businesses, will give their time and expertise to Academy activities on a pro bono basis.

"Working with a range of partners, our vision for the Hub is to seed a culture of success amongst the most ambitious and high potential technology-intensive SMEs in the UK," said Ian Shott, Chair of the Enterprise Committee at the Royal Academy of Engineering.

"It will build their capabilities and provide them with essential connections to established financing and business clusters that offer access to finance and routes to market. Success will be evidenced by UK companies with global vision creating substantial wealth, jobs and associated social and societal benefits."

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