In an interview with UKTN, Barclays Eagle Labs’s head of implementation, David Hamilton, said that the bank intends to allocate a “big chunk” of the £12 million Digital Growth Grant toward the UK’s tech industry.
In a controversial decision earlier this year, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) decided to award Barclays with the grant, leaving a crippling funding gap in the finances of Tech Nation which had previously relied heavily on the grant to survive.
Hamilton’s comments highlight that the DCMS decision was not welcomed with unanimous support across the industry, stating: “I’ve got the impression that some people think Eagle Labs are the bogeymen.”
He continued that Eagle Labs will direct a “big chunk” of the grant go towards education programmes for entrepreneurs, in efforts to continue the growth programmes Tech Nation had delivered. Hamilton stated that all of the government grant will be funnelled to delivery partners for these programmes, and that any Barclays activity will be funded by the bank and not the Digital Growth Grant.
In January, Tech Nation announced it has been forced to shut up shop, launching a redundancy programme and fire sale of its brand and assets. At the time of the closure, CEO Gerard Grech stated: "We have exhaustively explored whether Tech Nation could continue without core government grant funding, but have concluded after extensive consultation that this is not an option. We are a non-profit, with an obligation to act in the best interest of the public and the scaleup community we serve. We cannot continue to deliver for scaleups impactfully and impartially without core public funding underpinning everything we do, and with commercial funding alone.”