Key recommendations to oil the wheels of innovation for UK entrepreneurship
The 'Unleashing British Business' forum, hosted by Smith & Williamson in conjunction with Cubitt Consulting, aimed to provide a greater understanding of the issues facing UK entrepreneurs, as well as potential solutions. Our audience of experts discussed the landscape for entrepreneurs and formulated strategic recommendations for the Government. Here is a snapshot of our white paper.
Plugging the equity gap
Plug the information gap to improve awareness of equity options Remove hostile or restrictive regulations and tax policies for families Encourage equity providers to educate entrepreneurs The UK needs to create a culture that doesn't inhibit entrepreneurs seeking equity. According to our expert panel, there is plenty of funding available to SMEs, but not enough information to help them understand their options. Education is key to understanding core business concepts and the Government should play its part by promoting basic business knowledge in schools and universities. Private equity and venture capital firms should also take a more proactive role in mentoring and supporting entrepreneurs.
A strong network of peers is another way to fill the information void. The Government should aim to ensure that those seeking equity are aware of investor networks and how to utilise them. The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS, SEIS) is helping to increase business angel investment in earlier stage businesses, but the benefits need to be communicated more effectively. The regulations surrounding these schemes can be complex and onerous, and should be simplified.
Family investment is a key source of equity for early-stage ventures and is often denied the benefits enjoyed by individuals who are 'unconnected' investors. More should be done to encourage this. At the same time, many established companies are now backing incubators and accelerators and making direct investment into early-stage businesses. The reintroduction of a Corporate Venturing Scheme by the Government would encourage this important form of investment, bringing wider benefits such as market access, back office services and mentoring.
"It seems complicated and serious to get involved with private equity and you shrink away from it because you don't want to be wrong."
Rupert Collingwood, Founder, The London Management Company
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