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Brexit: Startups fear for EU funding

Mammoth amounts of funding for arts and tech startups are set to be lost when the UK leaves the EU. Who will step in to fill the gap?

26 Jul 2016

So far, the UK government’s given no indication that it will replace EU funding initiatives, meaning certain startups engaged in research or technical innovation could lose grants they’ve depended upon for their growth. Those most at risk are biotech, medical, pharmaceutical, the arts and video-game companies.

As of June 2016, 70 projects from the UK had been granted more than £39m by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme; that’s more money, to more projects, than any other country. British films, including Oscar winner The King’s Speech, received £76m between 2007 and 2013.

Successful grant applications have been boosted by platforms such as Creative Europe Desk UK, dedicated to supporting British organisations through the lengthy process.

What the startups say

‘An obvious concern is that we have had no reassurances from government that any effort will be made to replace lost funding from Europe. Any company that engages in R&D will be affected.’ John Spindler, London Co-Investment Fund

‘The fear for small presses publishing translated literature is that EU funding initiatives, which have eased financial pressures in a niche marketplace, will no longer be accessible to us.’ James Tookey, Peirene Publishing

‘Because some of our work involves EU funding, we have accelerated what were previously long-term plans to look into opening a subsidiary in the EU, to generate business outside of the UK. One possible location for this would be Berlin.’ Daniel Tenner, GrantTree

‘Following the EU referendum result, there are no immediate material changes to the current arrangements for those who have successfully applied, are currently being assessed, or are planning to apply for Creative Europe funding in 2016 and 2017.’ Spokesperson, Creative Europe

This story is part of a special report on Brexit’s impact on startups – covering fintech, currency, investment, talent, regulation and funding – featured in Courier Aug/Sept.