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Applications Open for Tech Nation’s Applied AI Growth Programme

Ross Kelly


Tech Nation AI Growth

Applicants for the six-month programme will be selected by a judging panel made up of leading AI experts, with successful entries starting the programme in September.


Tech Nation has officially opened applications for its first-ever peer-to-peer growth programme for Applied AI businesses.

Working alongside the UK Government’s office for artificial intelligence, Applied AI 1.0 will commence in September 2019 and is inspired by Tech Nation’s successful Fintech and Upscale programmes. The initiative is also being supported by one of the UK’s leading AI businesses, Faculty.

The programme launch follows a commitment from the UK Government to create opportunities and facilitate retraining for people from underrepresented groups in the data science and AI field. An investment of up to £13.5 million will help fund new degree and Masters conversion courses and scholarships at academic institutions across the country over the next three years.

Real-world impact

Tech Nation is seeking founders who have a clear vision of how their products can solve real problems and who are applying AI in practical areas to create real-world impact. The free, nationwide programme will serve predominantly as a practical network for founders leading Applied AI companies, helping to facilitate peer-to-peer learning across the C-suite.

Interactions will be structured around sessions that focus on key scaling challenges – identified through conversations with founders and venture capital investors. These sessions, in particular, will be delivered by later-stage or exited entrepreneurs who have a proven track record within the industry.


Additionally, the programme will host a series of networking events to help facilitate connections to industry experts, journalists, government and investors. The opportunity to embark on an international trip will also be available to participants, Tech Nation said.

Margot James, Minister for Digital and Creative Industries, said: “Britain has a long history as a global leader in computing technologies which led to the birth of artificial intelligence. Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are delivering a Britain that works for everyone and one that is a world leader in data-driven technologies.

“Tech Nation’s new Applied AI programme will help nurture some of our most talented entrepreneurs who use AI to improve people’s lives. I encourage anyone with the talent, ideas and aptitude to apply.”

Ongoing Sector Growth

Applied AI 1.0 is being launched amidst significant growth in the UK’s AI sector. From mid-2015 onward, AI deals have outpaced the wider tech economy. Around 70% of all AI deals completed globally in the last decade were completed in the previous three years.

Investment in AI encompasses a number of key industries within the UK’s technology sector. Both the fintech and healthtech sectors have witnessed significant growth in recent years. The UK also counts at least five AI unicorns amongst the total number of private tech companies with a valuation of $1bn or more, including Darktrace, Blue Prism and Benevolent AI.

Gerard Grech, CEO at Tech Nation, commented: “Investment in AI technology has grown almost six-fold in the last four years, and many AI unicorns are headquartered in the UK, including Darktrace and Graphcore. This significant growth means that the need for access to industry knowledge, connections and insights has never been greater, which is why we’re delighted to announce this latest scaling programme for Applied AI companies.”

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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