Finance ยท 22 September 2015

Passion Capital’s Eileen Burbidge succeeds Baroness Shields as chair of Tech City UK

Burbidge with fellow Passion Capital partners Robert Dighero and Stefan Glaenzer
Burbidge with fellow Passion Capital partners Stefan Glaenzer (left) and Robert Dighero

Eileen Burbidge, a partner at Passion Capital, has been appointed the chair of Tech City UK, the organisation looking after the UK’s tech industry and helping it develop.

Having recently been appointed fintech envoy to the government, Burbidge has taken up this new post chairing the group and a new entrepreneurs advisory panel. She follows in the footsteps of former tech exec Baroness Shields, who was chosen by David Cameron to become a minister for internet safety and security back in May.

Burbidge told Business Insider her new position would involve ?streamlining what the government is already delivering for the digital sector and make it less confusing and easier for people to access and take advantage of?.

She wants to improve what she already feels is a ?high regard for the organisation?, by first and foremost making sure ?that we really are tapped into the community?.

The creation of an entrepreneur advisory panel to help direct Tech City UK also involved the appointment of some well-established names, with Zoopla’s CEO Alex Chesterman, Unruly Media’s co-CEO Sarah Wood, JUST EAT’s CEO David Buttress and TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus.

Since Cameron launched Tech City UK in 2010, the group has worked on delivering ?the optimum conditions for digital technology businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive across the UK?. It receives public funding from the Department for Business, with ?2.2m for the 2015-2016 year, covering programmes and policy informing.

However, it has received criticism after a freedom of information request earlier this year found that it had granted seven visas for technology employees a year ? though it had the capacity to grant up to 200 ?exceptional talent visas?. Only ten applications were received between 6 April 2014 and 1 April 2015, according to Techworld, with seven approved, two under review and one rejected.

At the time, Tech City UK told The Times the purpose of the visa route was to ?attract applicants that demonstrate world-class aptitude to ensure our sector can compete on the world stage?.

It added that ?with nine individuals accepted since launch, the figure of 200 is not a target but rather a maximum allowance?.

Tech City UK is currently led by Gerard Grech, the CEO who previously worked at Nokia and?Blackberry, after taking over from Shields in 2014.

In a statement, the prime minister said: ?Eileen Burbidge will be a fantastic appointment, her knowledge and experience of the digital landscape will ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of this innovative industry.?

As well as Burbidge joining as chair, four other individuals join the board. Barclays UK vice president of technology, media and telecoms Tim Luke, Moonfruit co-founder Wendy tan White, investor Robin Klein and Google marketing executive Yonca Brunini.

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Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.

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