Scaleup superpower ambition detailed in Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary’s speech

We’re pleased to have welcomed Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan MP, to our Plexal Stratford workspace on the Here East campus on Tuesday 16th January with a focus on the scaleup opportunity in the UK.

She was present to deliver her Scaleup Speech – which our workspace member Naomi Bottrill of Love Language interpreted in British Sign Language – almost a year on from the formation of the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT).

Following an introduction from our CEO Andrew Roughan, the Secretary of State began by saying: “Thank you to Plexal for hosting us all here today. As a trusted partner of the government, we share a belief in innovation and that innovation is enhanced by collaboration. The support offered here to entrepreneurs, startups and scaleups is hugely valuable, so thank you once again for that warm welcome.”

Keen to reinforce that the voices of UK entrepreneurs has been heard by those in government, the Secretary of State noted: “…Britain’s innovation success story is built on three things: skills, scaleup and regulation to support innovation.“

Before outlining her priorities, the Secretary of State revealed a series of business growth milestones to reinforce the UK’s position in the marketplace, including: 

  • Our tech sector is worth over $1tn – by far the largest in Europe.  
  • 1.8 million people are employed in startups – triple the number in 2018. 
  • The most venture capital investment into tech in Europe 
  • The most investment in university spinouts in Europe 
  • The most unicorns in Europe  

The Secretary of State added that this positioning isn’t just a London-driven accomplishment. “The top ten towns and cities that saw the most growth in venture capital investment were actually all outside London, with cities like Sheffield seeing nearly 600% growth and Birmingham over 1,000% growth since 2019 alone,” she said.

“Now the UK is delivering on its commitment to become a Science and Tech superpower by 2030 and I believe there has never been a better time to be a science and tech entrepreneur wanting to scaleup across the UK and beyond.“

As outlined in the Scaleup Speech, the priorities set out are:


Concluding the Scaleup Speech, the Secretary of State said: “Scaleup means new jobs. New jobs mean new skills. New skills means innovation and innovation means economic growth. Our communities, our businesses and ultimately our country is richer with every successful scaleup.  So, let’s work together to ensure that 2024 is the year that the UK begins to solidify its place as a long-term scaleup superpower.” 

If you were unable to attend or tune into the Scaleup Speech, you can read it in full here or watch the highlights below.