First publicly funded tech school for upcoming bright sparks

Baroness Joanna Shields

Baroness Joanna Shields - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Tech City UK and a top London university have just launched the world’s first government-funded online tech school.

Design Business Academy

Design Business Academy - Credit: Archant

In collaboration with University College London (UCL), the Old Street-based organisation has launched The Digital Business Academy to give anyone the opportunity to gain the skills required to grow, start or join a digital business.

The initiative was launched to meet the growing demand for additional workers with digital skills and ensure that between 2015 and 2017 employers could access enough of the relevant talent.

The Mass Open Online Course (MOOC) is the first of its kind to provide people of all ages and backgrounds with government-funded learning from a variety of partners.

Courses come courtesy of institutions such as Cambridge University Judge Business School and UCL and grassroots startups like Founder Centric, a school that works with the likes of Oxford University.

Courses include business development, marketing, branding and finance, and take between three to six weeks to complete.

The programme has launched in beta and the platform is powered by UCL’s online learning platform UCeXtend.

Most Read

Baroness Shields, chair of Tech City UK and digital adviser to the prime minister, said: “Tech City UK’s Digital Business Academy represents a new revolution in education providing access to world leading universities and great digital minds for free. Whether you are a mother returning to the workplace or a new graduate full of ideas, securing top-notch digital and technical skills is essential.

“The Digital Business Academy will open up digital careers to people irrespective of age, background or pre-qualifications. For anyone who wants to learn, we provide the practical skills you need to start your own digital business or to thrive in any digital company”.

UCL vice-provost for enterprise and London, Professor Stephen Caddick, said: “UCL has from the very start been a strong supporter of Tech City UK and we are delighted to be a partner in the Digital Business Academy.

“We are committed to helping as many people as possible to acquire skills in business, digital technologies and entrepreneurship so that they can start and grow the companies that will create jobs and drive the UK economy.”

The programme has been backed by more than 30 partners in the industry including the BBC, O2 and Microsoft Ventures which are offering course participants the opportunity to harness paid internships, mentoring and specialist content.

Free start-up support is also being offered, such as fast track to start-up loads and free co-working space.

Anand Krishana of Microsoft Ventures, said: “Being part of one of the largest tech companies in the world, it’s easy to see that scale is something a lot of startups struggle with. The Digital Business Academy helps give founders the business skills they need to grow and we’re delighted to be part of it.”

More than 1,000 people have signed up to the scheme.

No pre-existing qualifications are needed to register.

For more go to