Tech Nation, a British non-profit organization that has been operating for ten years and has helped bring tech talents to the United Kingdom, will cease to operate on March 21, 2023.
The organization is shutting down after losing funding from the UK, as the government is looking to invest funds that previously went to Tech Nation for another project by Barclays Bank.
Tech Nation was first launched in 2011 but became Tech Nation today through the merger of Tech City UK and Tech North in 2018. The organization’s most popular initiative, Tech Nation Visa would also be affected by this shutdown.
Tech Nation Visa gives tech talents across the world the opportunity to come work in the UK with their families, and this initiative has seen Nigerians emigrate to the UK courtesy of this visa. More than 3,000 visas have been granted since the initiative started.
“I want to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to the Tech Nation team, to our ecosystem partners and all the inspirational innovators and entrepreneurs we have worked with along the way,” Gerard Grech, Founding CEO, Tech Nation, said in light of the development.
“I am grateful to the government’s support over nine years and feel proud of all we achieved. It has been an incredible journey. Together we have made the UK tech economy a global powerhouse for tech talent and now third in the world for tech investment, after the US and China.”
In a statement, Tech Nation said it would be ceasing all operations through a “carefully planned wind-down,” but also disclosed that the visa program would continue in the immediate term. This is dependent on the acquisition by Barclays bank or any other organization. While Tech Nations searches for new funding channels, the organization’s assets are up for sale.
This development will affect tech talents in tech roles in the UK and even those aspiring for flexible tech roles in the UK’s tech space. Also, the 94 countries in the Tech Nation Visa program would also be affected. Nigeria, India, and Russia would be most affected by the shutdown as they have contributed largely to the organization.
“It’s hugely sad to see the end of Tech Nation today. I was on the very first Upscale program, and since inception we’ve seen a dramatic growth in the UK startup community with a credible and effective cheerleader and ecosystem agent at its back,” Tom Adeyoola, founder of Metail, said reacting to the winding down of the program.
“It wasn’t perfect by any means, but you’re only as good as your paymasters and objectives drive you to be. I’m not sure it has been made clear what Tech Nation in particular was failing at that changing a supplier will fix. Whilst I believe strongly in competition and positive change, I think we should reflect on a grant cycle that is incredibly short and precarious. Barclays Eagle Labs may well have only just got their infrastructure in place by the time they are themselves up for renewal.
“A lot of relationships and connective ecosystem tissue are being thrown away at a time when UK plc is desperately seeking growth. I hope the new regime can get up to speed fast for the sake of the scaleup community and our global economic prospects.”
However, UK founders were against the move to grant funding to Barclays. More than 400 entrepreneurs have signed an open letter calling on the UK government to rethink their decision.
The shutdown of Tech Nation puts the UK in a negative light, and it would impact the UK’s tech industry and its ability to attract talent from abroad.
Tech Nation offers a range of services, which include growth programs, a digital academy, networking conferences, and international expansion programs. some of their star alumni are Revolut, Depop, Darktrace, Ocado, Skyscanner, and Deliveroo.