The UK Government and Wayra (Movistar’s open innovation and venture capital hub) today launched the “Scale-up UK 2021” project. The initiative seeks to identify and support regional tech scale-ups looking to expand their operations into Europe, more specifically into the UK market.
During the first stage, project outputs will include the mapping of about 50 scale-ups from Argentina, Chile and Uruguay (SMEs with the potential to expand their operations internationally to at least two countries), and a report that will constitute a source of information and contacts for the UK Government and UK embassies in the region, as well as a platform for these companies to gain visibility and find opportunities for interaction.
During the second stage, scheduled for January 2021, ten of these scale-ups will be selected by a jury of local and UK experts to take part next March in a “Demo Day” or “Pitch Day”, where they will be able to present their expansion plans and explain why they think the UK is the ideal market for them to expand into.
The final stage will include the selection of the two winning scale-ups that will gain the opportunity to participate in a programme to soft-land their business in the British market, which will includes a visit to the UK, a specific business agenda, meetings with UK government experts and a supplementary business agenda organised by Wayra UK.
The UK is home to five of the 20 main tech clusters in the whole of Europe: London, Cambridge, Bristol, Edinburgh and Oxford. At global level, it ranks third after the US and China in terms of tech unicorn numbers, with 77 such companies, valued at over 1 billion dollars.
Registration to participate in the scale-up mapping will be open until 1 December. Companies are asked to register on https://scaleuptouk.com.
During his presentation of the Scale-Up UK project, British Ambassador to Argentina, Mark Kent, said:
We want the world’s best entrepreneurs to expand their businesses into the UK, where they will find one of the world’s most innovative and dynamic economies. The UK tech industry in particular has been showing amazing numbers, attracting more capital investments than any other European market.
We know that Argentina has a particularly creative and thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, and we are proud that Argentine companies of different sizes have chosen to operate in the UK as a way to expand globally.
Joanna Crellin, UK Commissioner for Trade and Investment in Latin America, stated the following:
The UK is open to support innovative businesses wishing to expand into new markets. I am delighted that we are collaborating with Wayra to enable two scale-ups from Argentina, Chile or Uruguay to come to the UK. Latin America is known for its creativity and we are here to help the region’s most promising tech scale-ups speed up their growth and achieve success.
And Agustín Rotondo, Regional Manager at Wayra Hispam, said:
At Wayra we are working hard to connect the entrepreneurial ecosystem with the world of business and help companies become more scalable and global. We are very keen to implement this agreement with UK Government and offer scale-ups from the region the possibility of expanding into a highly dynamic market like the UK, providing valuable recognition to local innovative talent.