Barclays launches Silicon Valley programme for UK start-ups

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

Up to 20 entrepreneurs from across the UK will be flying to Silicon Valley to gain access to the talent, expertise and funding opportunities to grow their business, under a new drive by Barclays.

The new ‘Global Connect’ programme – tailored three-day events in San Francisco to help UK start-ups tap into one of the world’s leading innovation ecosystems – is being launched to help spur the creation of new jobs, boost UK competitiveness and accelerate the growth of burgeoning UK firms.

During the programme, designed by Barclays in conjunction with Commonwealth Ventures, entrepreneurs will gain insight into how to run a successful funding round in the Bay Area, as well as access to local networks and business contacts.

Industrial sector focus

Each Global Connect programme will focus on a key industrial sector or region of the UK. Barclays aims to deliver up to three by the end of this year, with up to 20 UK entrepreneurs taking part in each. 

Places are open to any high-growth UK start-up, whether they bank with Barclays or not.

The first Global Connect programme will take place in September, made up of leading agritech businesses that aim to boost productivity in food production and farming. 

Agritech is an area of competitive strength for the UK, and an industry where California already captures nearly a third of all global investment capital.

Manchester entrepreneurs  

The second cohort will be comprised of entrepreneurs based in the Manchester area, identified by local marketing agency MC2 to showcase the talent of one of the UK’s regional economies. If successful, Barclays will also consider Global Connect programmes in other parts of the world in the future. 

“Across the UK I meet lots of entrepreneurs who are building fascinating new businesses and opportunities”, Barclays Group CEO, Jes Staley, said. 

“It is thanks to their combined efforts that the UK can potentially lead the way in all kinds of industries – from healthtech to agritech to lawtech.

“But today it’s often too hard for a small UK scale-up to gain access to Silicon Valley alone. We want to change that by connecting these people with the world’s most sophisticated market for venture capital and innovative thinking, through our US presence in the Valley.

Access to networks and finance 

“Our new Global Connect programme will provide UK entrepreneurs with unrivalled access to networks and finance. As a connecting force, Barclays can help them to unlock new productivity, jobs and growth in the UK.”

Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, said: “Barclays’s Global Connect programme will showcase the brilliant talent and innovation the UK has to offer, supporting our start-ups and scale-ups to expand on the global stage and to compete with some of the biggest players in industry.

“Already more than 200,000 UK businesses are taking advantage of export opportunities overseas. 

“However, there is still more to do, and this new programme will help support our ambition to get more businesses exporting and to increase exports to 35 per cent of GDP, as outlined in the government’s export strategy.”

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