Barclays Eagle Labs launches Digital Growth Grant for UK tech companies

A new government-funded two-year programme series dedicated to boosting regional innovation across the UK has been announced by Barclays Eagle Labs

Following the recent awarding of funding by the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Barclays Eagle Labs will make its first big step towards boosting growth of UK tech start-ups and scale-ups — a mission previously undertaken by Tech Nation.

Applications are now open to UK tech businesses for the first series of accelerator programmes overseen by Barclays Eagle Labs, which include:

  • Ecosystem Partnership Programme: focusing on enabling businesses based outside of London to apply for funding and deliver schemes that best support challenges faced in their local area — including support for other local tech companies, mentoring for accelerators within the region, and regional expert collaboration.
  • Scaleup Programmes: alongside Cambridge Judge Business School, business leadership teams will receive tailored coaching and access to scaleup-specific learning, to help address bespoke challenges and achieve growth potential.
  • Healthtech and agri-tech industry bridge programmes: in partnership with Codebase, twelve-month programmes will be dedicated to connecting corporates to startups and scaleups — enabling startups and scaleups to establish partnerships within their industry.
  • Funding Readiness Programme: in partnership with Capital Enterprise, there will be an additional cohort of Eagle Labs’ virtual three-month programme of webinars, workshops and networking events, to educate founders on funding and provide skills and knowledge required to attract growth investment.

With at least 80 per cent of over 22,000 UK-based tech businesses being based outside of London, the scheme looks to address some of the key challenges facing the sector, including widening regional and local growth opportunities, supporting specialist sectors such as health and agri-tech, and driving growth for scaleups.

Future schemes

Additionally, the accelerator aims to deliver an additional six-month scaleup programme alongside innovation centre Plexal later in the year, working to support companies with a focus on solving more societal challenges.

There is also a scheme for growth of black-founded tech businesses that are at, or are about to enter, their scaleup stage, planned for later this year, while existing growth programmes such as the Female Founder Accelerator Programme are set to continue.

“We are delighted to continue to play a role in driving growth within the UK tech sector by helping startups, scaleups and entrepreneurs build successful businesses,” said Hannah Bernard OBE, head of business banking at Barclays.

“The Digital Growth Grant will make our support accessible to even more businesses up and down the country and enable us to provide tailored growth programmes, first-class business mentoring and access to even more resources to drive further growth.

“By leveraging the depth and breadth of our wider banking connections, supporting our communities and enabling entrepreneurs to develop the skills and confidence they need to succeed, we are helping all businesses to grow.”

“This is the ethos that has been driving Barclays Eagle Labs since its inception in 2015 and drives every single colleague in our broader Business Banking team.”

Paul Scully, Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, commented: “We want to give UK tech businesses the best start so their innovation can drive growth and investment across the country.

“Through the government-funded Digital Growth Grant, Eagle Labs will offer support and opportunities to help tens of thousands of startups and scaleups unlock their full potential. This is central to our plans to make the UK a tech and science superpower.”

UK tech start-ups and scale-ups looking to register or seek more information can do so here.


80 per cent of UK tech start-ups investing in skills to mitigate gapsWith almost half of small businesses surveyed by the Department for Education citing a lack of skilled staff as a concern, investment in this challenge proves widespread among UK tech start-ups.

UK innovation lags behind global counterparts despite funding plansAccording to Fujitsu research, 75 per cent of UK businesses accept that they won’t compete with international innovation leaders until the end of the decade.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.