30 May 2024
by Robin Beattie

Local investment, national impact: how we can support regional tech start-ups across the UK

Author: Robin Beattie, Director, National Technology, Hays

There’s no denying that the UK is a key player in the global tech start-up scene – it’s the number one ecosystem in Europe and the third globally for venture capital (VC) investment. In spite of recent economic challenges, the number of new tech companies incorporated in the UK increased by nearly a quarter (22%) last year, particularly in areas like software development and IT consulting.

London is one of the leading tech hubs in the world and produces more unicorns than anywhere else in Europe. Most of the VC investment in the UK has traditionally gone into start-ups based in the capital, perhaps due to the city’s favourable regulatory environment, top educational institutions and its capacity to tap into high growth sectors.

But how do other parts of the UK compare? In recent years there’s been rapid growth in the investment for regional start-ups across the country. Bristol-based OVO energy is one such example of a regional start-up success story – it raised the largest climate tech funding round outside of London last year.

Even though nearly every region in the UK has seen a rise in tech company incorporations in the past year, London is still home to four fifths of the country’s fastest growing start-ups, according to Sifted’s latest data.

To create a truly united tech network that can compete on a global scale, tech start-ups across the UK must be given the support needed to thrive.

Providing funding solutions for regional start-ups

There have been efforts from the government to promote innovation outside of the capital, including the launch of regional innovation Launchpads backed by £75 million of funding, facilitated by Innovate UK.

However, a greater distribution of investment into infrastructure development, including AI data centres, is needed to provide emerging tech hubs with the resources required to close in on London’s share of the start-up market.

Finding top tech talent in a skills-short market

Regional start-ups need specialist tech professionals working for them, but top talent can be hard to secure in the UK’s skills-short market where London still has the highest concentration of tech workers. Our latest salary guide reveals that 95% of tech employers have experienced skills shortages in the last year, with niche talent markets being particularly hard to unlock. Only 15% say they have access to all the skills needed to leverage AI tools and technologies in their organisation, which are clear driving forces for tech innovation.

We have over 400 tech consultants working across the UK and a dedicated team of recruitment experts specialising in start-ups and scale-ups. At Hays we have access to the top talent networks, market intelligence and industry expertise to be able to take your tech start-up to new heights.


Robin Beattie

Director, Hays