A NESTA report published earlier this year correctly points out that the future prosperity of the UK depends on its ability to foster and support high growth businesses. It is these high growth businesses and the entrepreneurs behind them that are best positioned to take advantage of new business models and emerging technologies and markets. But, for these entrepreneurs to be successful, they need an accessible pool of capital willing to back their vision and support them over the long term. When running MessageLabs, I experienced firsthand the critical role VC can play in accelerating growth trajectory – very often in tech you just don’t have time for organic growth.
In 2009, there were over 1,093 venture-backed companies in the UK employing over 40,000 people. From contribution to employment figures, to supporting all innovation that attracts further growth and further investment – there is ample evidence that proves the positive impact of VC funding.
I welcome initiatives that make it easier for investors to back promising entrepreneurs and believe that the government/regulators should balance their priorities to ensure that VC and its related knock on benefits to the economy do not suffer due to policy.
In the last year, the government has made some positive moves to support VC in the UK, most notably the announcement of the UK Innovation Fund, and the awarding of two new Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF’s); these steps are aimed at helping the supply side and allocating much needed capital to high potential start-ups.