We need to be less British, say angel and early-stage investment community

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UK Business Angels Association

03 November 2016

The UK’s angel and early-stage investment community said there’s a need to be less British, during the UK Business Angels Association’s summit this week – which was hosted by the Ontario Trade and Investment Office (UK) at Canada House in London. The sentiment from the gathering of over 250 investors and entrepreneurs was that we need to ensure we don’t talk ourselves down post-Brexit; we should celebrate businesses’ success stories and have confidence the UK can retain its position as a leading hub for investment and growth.

A positive outlook prevailed at the 1st November summit, with many investors reporting that generally there has been no change in their investment activity level since the June referendum and some reporting an increase. This was reinforced by speakers including Brent Hoberman, Co-founder of Lastminute.com, Made.com and Founders Factory; Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK; Lara Morgan, founder of Pacific Direct and Company Shortcuts; Anne Glover, Co-founder and CEO of Amadeus Capital Partners; and a range of leading investors from the angel and early-stage community who indicated that with Brexit must come new opportunities.

Jenny Tooth, CEO of UKBAA said:

“There continues to be an appetite among the investment community post-Brexit to back UK entrepreneurs, but if we are going to maintain this capacity to invest it is vital that we act now to build our international connections. By establishing a strong and connected global investment ecosystem we can ensure there is enough capital available in the UK to take growth companies from startup to scale up and beyond.” Scale up remains a challenge in the UK, with the majority of growth capital being allocated to startups. Sherry Coutu, founder of the Scale-Up Institute, spoke of the pressing need to highlight scale-up success and ensure UK growth businesses have access to global talent.

Scale up remains a challenge in the UK, with the majority of growth capital being allocated to startups. Sherry Coutu, founder of the Scale-Up Institute, spoke of the pressing need to highlight scale-up success and ensure UK growth businesses have access to global talent.

Concentration of capital in London and the South East was also highlighted as a key issue, this was underlined by Keith Morgan, CEO of the British Business Bank, who spoke of his organisation’s commitment to ensuring the progress of the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine Investment Fund, both soon to go live.

The overarching sentiment at the summit was the need for an ambitious outlook and for the UK’s investors and entrepreneurs to regard themselves as global players at this time. We must be proactive about building the international connections that we need – as Lara Morgan put it, ‘It’s remarkable what you can do by building relationships abroad – sometimes you just need to get on a plane.’

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