Gov and industry pledge £1.2bn tech investment

Tech companies have backed the UK with investment of more than £1.2 billion to accelerate the development of quantum computing and artificial intelligence (AI).

Speaking at London Tech Week, the prime minister Theresa May is set to pledge £153 million in government funding, with an additional £205 million pledged by industry, to unlock the potential of quantum technologies, including accelerated drug development.

There will also be 2,500 places available for AI and data conversion courses starting next year, to equip tech-driven businesses and people across the country with the skills they need. This includes 1,000 government-funded scholarships to open up opportunities for people from all backgrounds.

A study will also be launched into tech competitiveness to identify opportunities and support for digital businesses, led by Cindy Rose from Microsoft UK, Suzanne Ashman from LocalGlobe, Stephen Coleman from CodeBase, and Avid Larizadeh Duggan from Kobalt.

“Already we are one of the best places in the world to start and grow a tech business – British Tech is growing over one and a half times faster than the rest of the economy, adding more than one hundred and thirty billion pounds to our economy every year,” stated May.

“But if we are going to maintain our position as a global leader, our challenge is how we develop British tech and make it even better,” she continued, adding that this is a challenge shared between industry and government.

Later today, she will host a roundtable for tech companies, including Microsoft UK, Google and Monzo, where they will discuss opportunities to fully harness the power of technology to enhance competitiveness, boost the economy and tackle societal challenges.

This comes as 13 businesses chose to invest in the UK as the top destination for tech innovation and talent. These include plans for a £1 billion investment by VMware over the next five years; a £12 million investment by Mastek in a new digital skills programme for graduates in Leeds; and a £150 million investment in a new data centre by Markley Group which will create 200 jobs.

Meanwhile, data from Dealroom and Tech Nation released today showed that to date, the UK has produced 72 tech companies worth $1 billion, substantially higher than any other country in Europe, outlining that tech startups have raised a record $4.8 billion in venture capital investment over the first five months of 2019.

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