Secretary of State Michelle Donelan delivered a speech at Plexal on her top priorities for the year ahead.

Good afternoon.

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 scale-ups is hugely valuable, so thank you once again for that warm welcome.

It has been nearly a full year since my department was created as the first true start-up project in Whitehall.

For the first time, the innovative science and tech start-ups that are fuelling our economy have a dedicated department, with a clear north star in the form of the Science and Technology Framework.

We are on a mission, a mission to be the powerhouse of growth.

But we were in a very different place when we look back to 2010 when we assumed office.

Still recovering from the global financial crash, venture capital investments into UK start-ups were small.

Just one tenth of what they are today – our innovators were starved of the cash they needed to scale.

And while it is unthinkable now in today’s economy, the UK had just 10 unicorns, one fifteenth of the number we have created.

In response, we didn’t just talk about being the government of business, we acted as the government of business. Supporting businesses, who of course create the growth and wealth of our nation. And by enabling them to succeed, we completely changed the game. Reinvigorating a mindset that puts growth and opportunity first/ Because we knew then, as we do now, that the value of scale-up is not only measured in pounds and pence, but for the explosion in jobs and skills in local communities that comes as a by-product.

In Rishi Sunak, we have a Prime Minister who doesn’t just share this mindset, he actually puts it into practice by personally championing rapid growth in our science and tech sector.

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