Government sets up £150m innovation fund

Gordon Brown unveils plans for state-backed venture capital fund


The government yesterday announced plans to create a state-backed venture capital fund, which it hopes will raise as much as £1bn for investment in innovative, fast-growth companies.

The UK Innovation Investment Fund will invest £150m, to be matched by private sector backers, with Gordon Brown suggetsing that the fund could be leveraged higher if enough private investment is forthcoming over the next decade.

“This fund will help build Britain’s future by investing in key sectors,” said the prime minister.

“It will provide crucial support for our most promising start-ups and existing small companies just when they need it most.

“Venture capital finance is the lifeblood of innovation and crucial to ensuring the commercialisation of the discoveries coming out of our research base.”

The fund is expected to focus on clean technology, bioscience and advanced manufacturing companies.

According to government figures there are 1,093 venture capital backed tech companies in the UK employing more than 40,000 highly skilled workers.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson said the government had identified access to venture capital as one of the ‘critical factors’ in developing innovative UK ventures.

He added: “The [fund] will be a shot in the arm for the British venture capital industry. It is also a challenge to UK VCs to follow the government’s lead in backing British entrepreneurs in building exciting new companies, investing in new technologies and creating new jobs.”

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2009

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