The event which was hosted by David Cameron and Lord Young, the Enterprise Tsar, was attended by over 100 representatives of the angel community around the UK, and notably from the British Business Angels Association, together with other main players in the SME finance market place.
“I don’t want to sound like Lord Kitchener, but your country needs you, really needs you”, said the Prime Minister, who emphasised the vital role that angels are playing in supporting enterprise growth in response to the current economic challenges.
The Prime Minister (pictured above at a recent trip to the McLaren factory) also spoke about the measures that the Government was taking to support the angel community and drew attention to the new Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme providing an even greater incentive to existing and new investors to put up to £100k of their investment into start-up businesses in return for a £50% tax break.
Cameron also emphasised the Government’s major “Olympic year offer” to wipe out the Capital Gains Tax bill for 2012-13 for anyone who puts that gain into a start-up business.
“It’s a huge sort of one-off offer to make this the year of entrepreneurialism and enterprise and Business Angels” said Cameron. He also recognised the important role that Angels play in bringing vital business experience and mentoring skills.
“But it really means something because it means you are sitting on the shoulders and standing behind the people that you’re helping…they will need the mentoring, they will need the Angel part as much as the money part. So, please do all you can to do even more of what you’re doing”.
Finally, the PM emphasised that they were keen to hear the ideas from the angel community on what more could be done to support their role in the UK and that there was still time to influence the forthcoming budget.
Anthony Clarke, Chair of BBAA following on from David Cameron’s speech said: “UK Angel investing is estimated by BBAA to be £800m per annum which is approximately twice the sum invested annually by seed start up and early stage venture capital funds in the UK with approximately 15,000 angel investors operating in the current UK market.
We are delighted that the Government is supporting the further growth and expansion of angel investing in the UK through the new Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) which, some may argue, is a bold move by Treasury, to reverse the shortage of supply of seed investment in the UK and will undoubtedly attract essential new Angel money into the seed stage.
The new £50m Angel Co Fund will also act as an important new incentive to leverage significant new capital from angel syndicates”.
“The challenge remains on how we can double or even treble the numbers of UK angel investors and to increase the awareness of individuals to become angel investors to invest in innovative high growth potential entrepreneurs. There is also a need to ensure that entrepreneurs have much better understanding of how to access angel investment and how to make the most of all of the sources of finance available to them to meet their needs.
Notably, I am pleased to confirm that BBAA has recently concluded a new strategic partnership with the British Bankers’ Association and also the Business Growth Fund.
We will also be working more closely with our ongoing sponsors, Lloyds Banking Group and NESTA and building on our existing links with BVCA. These new strengthened alliances will allow BBAA to grow its role and services as a trade body in line with the expanding and developing UK angel market”.
A panel session chaired by Lord Young offered opportunities to put questions from the assembled angel community to a line of key financial players, including Angela Knight of the British Banker Association; Stephen Welton, from the £2.5bn Business Growth Fund; Ken Cooper, from the new £50m Angel Co- Fund; David Gauke MP Exchequer Secretary for Treasury and Peter Jones, ex Dragon’s den and serial entrepreneur and investor.