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UK Tech on the Global Stage


The UK tech sector performed very well in investment last year. In 2018, the UK managed to attract 5% of global high-tech scaleup investment, placing them fourth in the world. Investment for high-growth digital tech firms also grew 61% between 2017 and 2018.

London continues to remain the UK’s leader in attracting high-growth tech investment, receiving £9bn from 2015 to 2018. Cambridge is second, at £583M. On an international scale, UK cities continue to attract investment on the global stage.


In 2018, the UK continued to remain a hotbed for tech talent, employing 5% of all high-growth tech workers globally. This places the UK ahead of Japan, France, and Indonesia.

Cyber, AI, and Cleantech all feature in the top 10 sectors for employment in high-growth tech firms. Investment data shows that AI, cyber and Big Data are growing in importance for UK tech scale-ups. This means that the UK may be about to see more jobs generated in these sectors.


From December 2018 to February 2019, high-growth tech firms in London grew by over 56%, more than anywhere else in the world.


Businesses and government have put significant resources towards the development of a knowledge-based economy. The report reveals that R&D expenditure in the UK in 2016 represented 1.67% of gross domestic product (GDP).

UK Prime Minister, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, said: ‘‘The UK is a global tech powerhouse. I am immensely proud of our country’s ambitious tech scaleups. These companies are delivering significant economic value to the nation through the investment they raise, the jobs they create and the innovative products and services they deliver’’. 

Tech Businesses in the East of England

The Exemplas group deliver many business support projects in the East of England, including, Hertfordshire Growth Hub, Enterprise Europe Network and The Department for International Trade.

The East of England region did notably well in the report with the key findings being:

  • Turnover from digital tech businesses in the East of England is currently £8.3bn
  • Digital tech businesses count stands at 19,000
  • Employment in the digital tech sector has reached 89,000
  • Digital tech productivity per worker is £101,000
  • The East of England has seen the greatest increase in capital invested across all tech companies, at 206%
  • The East of England accounts for 15% of all UK tech investment

Innovate 2 Succeed, one of the Enterprise Europe Network services helps small businesses nurture innovation more effectively, rapidly commercialise concepts and grow from the bottom line. 321 businesses have been through the Innovate 2 Succeed programme in the East of England between April 2016 and March 2019, helping to create 623 new jobs.

Read the full report here.