Today – we’re publishing our Startup Manifesto which provides a blueprint for the next government to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business. 

The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec) last published a manifesto in 2014 and a lot has changed since then, most notably the vote on 23 June 2016 to leave the European Union. To say that Brexit has dominated politics would be an understatement – it’s become the mood music of a divided nation. That’s why we have teamed up with our good friends at The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN), to put together a series of recommendations for the next government to cement and extend the UK’s position as Europe’s most digitally innovative nation.

The core of what startups need to build world-beating companies hasn’t changed. Talk to founders and it consistently comes down to three key things: world-class talent from both here in the UK and abroad; the right kind of incentives to support the creation of early-stage businesses then access to the capital needed to scale them; and a clear, simple set of rules and regulations flexible enough to encourage new and innovative startup business models to grow.

This means reforming the visa system so startups can attract the best and brightest without needless bureaucracy, streamlining tax reliefs so we can get timely investments in ambitious businesses, and reforming pension regulations to attract more funding into early-stage businesses.

While each policy taken in isolation may seem like a minor tweak – taken together it forms the vital blueprint for making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business. A summary of our recommendations are:

Access to Talent

  • Ensure that the Start Up and Innovator Visas are implemented successfully

  • Reintroduce the Tier 1 General visa – or an equivalent

  • Reduce the Tier 2 Visa Salary threshold and allow stock options to be considered in visa applications

  • Extend the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa to European citizens

  • Modernise EMI by increasing current limits from a £30M asset capitalisation to £100M, and from 250 to 500 employees

  • Support more women to start and scale businesses

  • Utilise private coding schools as lifelong learning providers


Access to Finance

  • Reform the Tier 1 Investor Visa by lowering the minimum qualifying investment threshold for investment in UK startups, scale-ups and venture capital funds

  • Reform advance assurance for EIS and SEIS to unlock more investment in high-growth startups.

  • Unleash pension fund capital by adjusting the pension charge cap

  • Encourage the British Business Bank to provide more risk capital

  • Reform R&D Tax Credits so that they are fit for a modern digital economy

  • Improve access to Innovate UK grants

  • Devise a coherent regional startup strategy



  • Secure a Data Adequacy agreement as soon as possible

  • Promote innovation in regulated sectors by creating a cross-sector regulatory sandbox

  • Use Open Banking-style reforms to promote innovation in sectors such as telecoms and energy

  • Revolutionise the way government collects, stores and shares data

  • Redraft the Age Appropriate Design Code to be more pragmatic

  • Work with startups to ensure tech regulation does not create new barriers to entry

  • Protect encryption from politicised attacks


These policies would be good for startups, but more importantly they would be good for the country as a whole. When you support Britain’s entrepreneurs you support the whole economy. New businesses create most new jobs and it’s startups that come up with innovative products and services that make our lives better.