I’m very pleased to say that the UK is becoming an incredibly entrepreneur friendly place, largely courtesy of a number of government initiatives. The statistic being bandied around Whitehall is that 1.3m of the last 2.4m jobs created in the UK were created by startups, and something like 80% of those were created by top 6% of startups (more exact stats would be welcome). Ergo the UK needs more high quality startups and government should be doing everything it can to create the best environment for that to happen.
There is nothing new about this argument (except maybe the statistic) but for the first time government seems to really believe in it.
The first evidence of this new government attitude came back in November when Prime Minister David Cameron launched the East London ‘tech city’ intitative, got a boost earlier this month with the tech-friendly Startup Visa and then we saw a whole lot more in the budget last week:
- Tax relief for angel investors under the EIS scheme increased from 20% to 30%
- Restrictions on size of EIS and investments by VCTs into individual companies increased from £1m to £10m
- Restrictions on size of qualifying companies to relaxed in a 2102 Finance Bill
- Big increases in the R&D tax credits
- 100% increase in entrepreneurs relief to £10m (lifetime limit)
And on top of these financial measurements it appears the government might finally be getting serious about reducing red tape for business.
Then yesterday was also a good day for UK entrepreneurs:
- Passion Capital announced their launch with a $60m seed fund (Passion Capital was formerly known as White Bear Yard). This is a fund supported by the government’s Enterprise Capital Fund scheme.
- Startup Britain launched. Whatever the merits of the scheme show continued government support for entrepreneurship (within the limited cash available).
It will take time to build an entrepreneurial culture here in the UK, and the government can be a big help by making it easier for businesses to succeed and by publicly supporting the idea that the entrepreneur is to be valued. It is great to see that they are doing a good job in this regard.