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Skills and Scale-Up

How can the UK nurture more Tech Unicorns?


Event Details

Date Monday 18 January
Time 11:15 – 12:15am
Format Virtual Panel Event Hosted on Zoom


On Monday 18 January, PICTFOR hosted their first event of the New Year, focused on Skills and Scale-Up: How can the UK nurture more Tech Unicorns?


We were delighted to be joined by Small Business Minister, Paul Scully MP, Chair of the All-Party Group for Digital Skills, and Labour MP for Sunderland Central, Julie Elliott MP, Founder of Tech Unicorn Babylon Health, Dr Ali Parsa, and Principal Investigator at TechUP Women, Professor Sue Black OBE, who each provided their insights on the priorities of the UK following the rapid switch to virtual behaviours.

  • The Minister opened the event by noting that the pandemic had caused massive disruption to all sectors in the global economy. He praised the Tech sector for its resilience in the last year, adding that the growth in demand had forced an increased contribution from the sector, which the sector had proved strong enough to meet. He added that the UK has a proud history of developing successful start-ups, noting that the UK has more Unicorns than any other country.
  • Julie Elliot MP said that to recover from the economic damage caused by the pandemic, we must ensure we provide ‘proper skills’ to those who need them, fully equipping the nation for the lasting impacts of COVID. She added that we must reduce the fear associated with learning new skills, and find ways to encourage those who previously worked in the sectors most affected by the pandemic, such as retail and hospitality, to re-skill and fill roles in emerging sectors.
  • Dr Ali Parsa noted London’s global prominence as a centre of finance, adding that more should be done to encourage the financial community to stay in the UK, to contribute, and to flourish. He added that in a post-Brexit Britain, we must strive for a welcoming and inclusive culture, which celebrates innovation and success.
  • Professor Black discussed the need for the UK to encourage all types of people to engage in Tech – noting that her own background proved that people can access tech-skills later on, and changing their own circumstances and supporting tech growth simultaneously.

You can catch up on the entire event below.



If you would like further information on this topic or about PICTFOR’s programme of events, please get in touch!

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