Barclays Eagle Labs launches two-year programme of business support, to drive growth across the UK tech sector

19 April 2023
  • Applications are now open for the first Digital Growth Grant programmes – a two-year package of support for UK tech businesses, powered by Barclays Eagle Labs and funded by Government
  • The programmes aim to address some of the key challenges facing the UK tech sector such as, widening regional and local growth opportunities, supporting specialist sectors such as health and agri-tech and driving growth for scaleups
  • An Independent Advisory Board, made up of tech and business ecosystem experts, will advise on project direction, act as a voice of the community and share best practices, to maximise the impact of the funding
  • A wider package with access to expert mentoring and an online learning platform will also support across all of the programmes to enable business growth and development

Today, Barclays Eagle Labs has officially launched its two-year programme of support for tech businesses, funded by the Government’s Digital Growth Grant1, to tackle some of the key issues businesses face and drive regional growth in the UK tech sector.

The package of support, which will be delivered in addition to Eagle Labs’ existing activity, includes a series of business growth programmes, in partnership with best-in-class industry experts, as well as access to mentoring and educational resources. Combined with Eagle Labs’ existing activity, the Digital Growth Grant has an ambition to support up to 22,000 businesses over the next two-years enabling growth across the UK tech sector.2

Applications are now open for the first series of programmes3 which include:

  • Ecosystem Partnership Programme – Enabling organisations outside of London, to apply for funding and deliver their own programmes that best support the challenges they are facing in their local area – whether that’s support for local technology businesses, mentoring for accelerators within that region or bringing together the best in class for a regional industry event. This programme will help deliver on a wider ambition that 80 per cent of businesses across the Digital Growth Grant and existing Eagle Labs activity are outside of London.
  • Scaleup Programmes – in collaboration with Cambridge Judge Business School: business leadership teams will receive tailored coaching and access to scaleup-specific learning, to help address their bespoke challenges and achieve their potential. Later in the year, Eagle Labs will deliver an additional six-month scaleup programme working to support companies with a focus on solving some of society’s challenges, in partnership with Plexal.
  • HealthTech and AgriTech Industry Bridge Programmes – in partnership with Codebase: a twelve-month programme connecting corporates to startups and scaleups. These programmes will enable startups and scaleups to forge connections with some of the UK’s biggest firms and relevant peers working within their chosen industry, with the potential to share experience, drive collaboration and foster further growth.
  • Funding Readiness Programme – in partnership with Capital Enterprise: An additional cohort of Eagle Labs’ virtual three-month programme of webinars, workshops and networking events, to educate founders on funding and to provide them with the skills and knowledge they need to attract investment and fund their business growth.

Later this year, a new programme will launch to support the growth of black-founded tech businesses who are at, or are about to enter, their scaleup stage. Continued support for existing growth programmes also include the Female Founder Accelerator Programme. Both these programmes support an overall ambition to ensure at least 35 per cent of supported founders come from diverse backgrounds in terms of gender, sexuality and ethnicity.

Aside from supporting entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, a new programme also aims to help with the very early stages of the startup life cycle. Due to roll out later this year, a new programme known as Product Builder and also in partnership with Plexal will support entrepreneurs in bringing their idea to life – to create and deliver a minimum viable product.

To ensure the programmes deliver impactful business outcomes for those involved, they will have the oversight of an Independent Advisory Board, made up of leaders who represent the diversity and regionality of the UK tech ecosystem4. The Board will offer advice on programme direction, act as a voice of the tech community, share best practices and promote the programme’s services.

Hannah Bernard, Head of Business Banking, Barclays said: “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. 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, said: "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."

Launching later this year, the grant will also fund the creation of the Knowledge Hub – an online platform with educational tools and modules designed to help founders run and grow their business. This will be accompanied by a series of monthly in-depth insight reports, in partnership with Beauhurst on a range of topics and industries, to educate founders and inspire the next generation of UK entrepreneurs.

To find out more about Eagle Labs partners, the Digital Growth Grant and to register for open programmes visit: labs.uk.barclays/digital-growth-grant/


Notes to Editors

1 Eagle Labs the Digital Growth Grant to tackle the challenges that small and scaling tech businesses across the UK face and support and foster their growth.
2 The figure referring to an ambition to support 22,000 businesses, is based on programme take up estimates across the following key areas or programmes, over a two-year period: growth programmes, connectivity services including mentoring, learning experiences and ecosystem support including the Ecosystem Partnership Programme.
3 There is no pre-requisite to have any kind of commercial relationship with Barclays in order to access programmes or receive support funded through the Digital Growth Grant. Additionally, Eagle Labs does not require any equity in businesses receiving support. Eagle Labs will use 100% of the Grant to support the UK tech ecosystem, through programme delivery.
4 Members of the Digital Growth Grant Independent Advisory Board:

  • Chris Elphick, Senior VC Manager, British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association
  • Dr Phil Clare, CEO, Queen Mary Innovation
  • Katie Gallagher, Managing Director, Manchester Digital
  • Alisdair Gunn, Project Director of Glasgow City Innovation District
  • Louise Harris, Co- founder and Director Tramshed
  • Ian Browne, Managing Director, Dog Patch Labs
  • Roei Samuel, CEO of Connectd
  • Julie Grieve, Recently Exited Travel Tech Founder
  • Steven Roberts, Chief Scientific Adviser, Barclays
  • Charles Ebubedike, CEO, Clinova
  • Vishal Chatrath, CEO, QuantrolOx