UKTCG urges Government to prioritise grassroots expectations in Digital Strategy The digital and tech industries can drive the UK’s economic recovery. What support do we need to make it happen? Claire FletcherNews5th August 2020advocacycovid-19Tech Cluster Group As part of our role supporting the local tech community, Sheffield Digital is a founding partner of the UK Tech Cluster Group (UKTCG). This group has been lobbying the Government ahead of its upcoming Digital Strategy, to provide the support we need to build back better as we cope with the challenges posed by COVID-19. In a new report the UKTCG has made seven key recommendations for policy that can release the potential of the UK’s tech sector and drive the nation’s economic recovery. In June 2020, the UKTCG hosted a Recovery Roadmap Summit which brought together hundreds of tech stakeholders, policymakers, investors and entrepreneurs in a one day virtual event. Attendees explored and developed ideas on how to both help the tech sector grow as part of the UK’s economic recovery, and to better understand how digital can accelerate the recovery of other sectors too. The Recovery Roadmap Report, published on 4 August, captures the learnings from the day and presents seven policy recommendations to meet the expectations of grassroots communities from across the UK. What are we recommending? UKTCG are calling on the Government to build more early stage programmes to help establish more product-led tech start-ups across the UK, driving a new flow of innovation into current successful scaleup programmes. The report also recommends a specialist programme to help public sector bodies better utilise digital solutions, whilst making clear that any schemes must consider the local nuances of the nations and regions to ensure engagement and impact. The group also advocates more emphasis on providing “test beds” to facilitate close-to-market digital innovation and stresses any new forms of collaboration between SMEs and corporates at a local level should drive regional and national R&D investment. They are recommending that technology buyers from traditional sectors need more support with their digital adoption and transformation journeys. Finally, the report highlights the critical need for programmes that will open up tech careers as an option for people who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19, regardless of their previous profession, skill level, or age. David Dunn, UKTCG Chair, said: “The tech and digital industry’s importance to our economy goes unchallenged. We need to ensure people understand it, can access its knowledge and use it to drive their businesses, whether they’re startups or global giants. “For us to succeed there is an understanding that the whole of the UK must be supported and help needs to be offered, and available wherever required, on the ground rather than directed centrally. “Each recommendation has a comprehensive plan behind it which we would be eager to develop further with key public policy makers for the good of our economy, our country and our local communities.” You can download a copy of the Recovery Roadmap Report here and a collection of videos from the Recovery Roadmap Summit are available to watch here.