High on the optimism sparked by Cameron’s rousing rhetoric in 2010 about the promise of Britain’s tech companies to replace the financial services as the UK’s flagship industry, many young startups have been inspired to apply for the support and funding released through the government’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB). The SMART grant and the Launchpad initiative, run by the TSB, intend to fill the funding gap for seed and early stage tech companies unable to access bank cash and too small to be of interest to venture capitalists.
However, many companies have spoken out in criticism of the TSB‘s methods. Some have asked as-yet un-answered questions about the opaque decision-making process for entries; others have complained about the lengthy and cumbersome application that ask for details which aren’t available at such early stages of the business. It appears that companies may be put off applying because they are unable to commit time to the application, or because they are turning to alternative sources such as crowdfunding to fill the early-stage funding gap.