coadec-logoAhead of 2015’s general election, more than 150 tech startups and investors have added their names to the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec) Startup Manifesto, viewable online as a PDF or on Slideshare.

Sponsored by Google, Intuit, iHorizion and TechHub, Coadec claim to “…work with digital startups and policymakers to create better policy for the digital economy.” With the publication of the new 24-point manifesto, they aim to influence UK political parties towards tech-focused policy.

Crucially, the manifesto calls for:

  • Cutting taxes for startups in the UK by continuing the Seed/Enterprise Investment Schemes (S/EIS) and re-introducing tax relief for corporate venture capital (i.e. capital used to invest in the equity of a high growth business)
  • Improving ‘access to talent’ by reintroducing the Tier 1 post-study work visa, closed since April 2012, amongst other schemes to help migrant entrepreneurs get work in the UK
  • Building better infrastructure to cater for the rising number of startups needing office space and investing in higher broadband speeds
  • Creating a legal framework which protects consumers without inhibiting growth in the tech sector

Among the signatories are Alex Chesterman (Founder and CEO, Zoopla), Andrew Fisher (Executive Chairman, Shazam) and Ricardo Zacconi (CEO, King).

“There’s no doubt there is yet more to do and we will scour any proposals to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a business.”


Adding to extensive support from inside Britain’s tech industry, politicians have also welcomed the manifesto. At the launch of the manifesto, shadow business secretary Chuka Ummuna said ““We want to see more people starting up, leading and working in business and the creation of high-skilled, better-paid jobs. Britain’s burgeoning digital economy has a huge role to play in meeting both of these challenges, and that’s why Coadec’s manifesto is right to emphasise the importance of digital startups as well as the need to foster digital skills.”

Business minister Matthew Hancock was also keen to show support, adding, “There’s no doubt there is yet more to do and we will scour any proposals to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a business.”

In a direct response to the manifesto, Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy told City A.M. “In terms of lending, funding streams from the British Business Bank to Project Merlin show the coalition is letting down startups in access to finance.

“And as called for in the Startup Manifesto, we need proper investment in genuine apprenticeships that give young people a taste of an entrepreneurial environment. The government could be doing more. There is no room for complacency.”

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