The Treasury Select Committee Chair, International Trade Minister for Investment and Small Business Minister walk into a room…
No, it’s not the start of a politically niche joke, but the three distinguished speakers – Rt Hon. Nicky Morgan MP, Graham Stuart MP and Kelly Tolhurst MP – introduced onto the stage by the Venture Capital Trust Assocation’s (VCTA) Chairman Tim Levett to speak on venture capital trusts (VCT) at the VCTA’s inaugural parliamentary reception.
The speeches, whilst different in scope, were overwhelmingly positive about the role of VCTs in supporting small, higher risk SMEs that would otherwise find it difficult to obtain long-term risk finance. The speakers also praised the VCTA for their specific contribution in supporting British small businesses – the backbone of the UK economy – to start up and scale up.
The guests heard how for every £1 million of investment, there is a £2.2 million increase in turnover, and how the VCT scheme provides true ‘patient’ capital (the average duration of a VCT investment is seven years and often, VCTs fund businesses with multiple rounds of investment). Furthermore, where VCT investment has been present for over five years, the average increase in jobs is over 100 per company; in fact, companies currently backed by the VCT scheme have created 27,000 jobs since the first VCT investment.
The sector was rightly urged by both Ms Morgan and Ms Tolhurst to do more to ensure that female entrepreneurs receive greater venture capital investment. Both MPs highlighted the importance demonstrated by the recent Alison Rose Review that if the gap between female and male entrepreneurs was closed, an additional £250 billion in GVA would be added to the UK’s economy. The VCTA is looking at how it can continue to remove barriers facing female entrepreneurs and help to close this gap.
However, it wasn’t just the speeches (and canapes) that the guests turned up for.
A number of VCTA-backed businesses were on display: Mirada Medical, Empiribox, Masters of Pie, Chess Dynamics, Olio, and Proveca. These companies showcased just how diverse the sectors that VCTs invest in are – medical imaging, education, science, virtual reality, defence, sharing of surplus food and pharmaceuticals!
Guests were impressed by the interactive and innovative way of revolutionising science lessons for children, trying 3D models on for size in the world of immersive reality and discussing the importance of engineering expertise in the realm of aerospace and defence. Companies on the cutting edge of the medical world talked passionately about their work whilst food waste heroes explained the concept behind their food sharing app.
The VCTA was delighted to welcome so many political guests and industry colleagues to the House of Commons to celebrate VCTs at its inaugural annual reception and looks forward to celebrating future successes next year. If you’d like to hear more about the VCT scheme or the VCTA, please contact the Chairman, Tim Levett, via firstname.lastname@example.org.