UK Government launches £375m scheme to help start-ups but fears remain over a digital skills gap

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The UK Government has launched a new £375m scheme to drive investment in the UK’s most high-growth, innovative and R&D-intensive firms.

But according to Daniel Homoki-Farkas, UK Managing Director of independent digital innovation agency Supercharge, while this investment needs to be applauded, the businesses themselves may be hampered by a lack of in-house resources with the experience and expertise to implement innovative technologies that are available to properly realise their idea.

Daniel Homoki-Farkas stated: “Many UK-based scale-ups are sitting on piles of investor cash. They have a great idea that could transform an industry or revolutionise an aspect of how people live and work. However, the people behind this big idea – through no fault of their own – could be held back if they are relying solely on in-house skills to bring their vision to life and grow it into an effective, successful, and sustainable business.

“It is totally understandable if a scale-up decides to grow by hiring in-house digital skills and build and roll-out its solution in this way. But right now, there is a digital skills shortage and any competitive advantage you may have, might just evaporate if you take the DIY route.”

The Future Fund: Breakthrough scheme will see the government commit to £375million in funding for fast-growing firms. To be eligible, businesses must have commitments of 70% of an investment round from private investors with a track record of financing innovative companies.

“These are businesses that are potentially cash-rich but people-resource poor, a digital skills problem that is going nowhere. While there are now schemes being rolled out such as the ‘scale-up visa” which will help fast-growing tech companies hire talented staff from abroad, the short-term issue remains,” continued Homoki-Farkas.

“We would argue strongly that if you want to maximise the return on investment on the funding you have, then look to a strategic partner that could turbo charge your app build and roll-out in the short term, and one that can be a long-term innovation partner.”

“We would argue that to maintain your competitive edge – the reason a start-up or scale-up secured the funding in the first place – speed is essential, and businesses do not have the luxury of time. Call-in short-term resource and know-how from suppliers who can offer a helping hand to get your product over the line and use their skills over the long term once the short-term issue is resolved.”