UKBAA CEO Jenny Tooth emphasises the need to support small businesses in the UK so they continue to receive the investment they need to sustain and scale
With the Government and Parliament at complete loggerheads and with four defeats in a row, we await with baited breath the PM’s next move, as he seeks to call a General Election. Despite the Chancellors’ pre-election, post-austerity budget, giving away nearly £14bn to key service and infrastructure areas, this will not overcome the rising uncertainty for businesses and investors across the UK in the light of this political chaos.
We cannot underestimate the importance of ensuring that the small businesses that our community is backing and supporting across the UK continue to receive the investment they need to sustain and scale. Angel investors play a vital role, but as you know our community is still not sufficiently active in many parts of the UK, meaning that many entrepreneurs are failing to access the investment they need. Thus we will be redoubling our efforts in the coming months to build further angel capacity across the UK regions and this is also supported by the new British Business Investment £100m Regional Angels Programme, offering co-investment Funds that I know many of our members are now seeking to access.
We are also continuing to focus on the important untapped pool of women investment across the UK and we remain concerned that so many women are still not aware of the opportunity to use their spare financial capacity and business experience to back entrepreneurs and especially women entrepreneurs. That is why we are holding our Northern Women Angel Investment Forum on 23rd October in Manchester to bring this opportunity to the attention of women across the Northern regions and discuss what needs to be done to attract more women to invest in the North. So I do hope many women and interested people will join us in this debate.
Whilst our economy still remains so uncertain, we should not forget the importance of the Industrial Strategy which is still a core part of economic policy and which enables a focus on major leading growth sectors across the UK. One of these sectors is the Creative Industries where businesses are making a huge contribution to our economy and notably screen-focused businesses in such areas as animation, video, film, TV and AR/VR that have been shown to bring over £3bn into our economy and where new technology is converging to offer increased investment potential. Many of these creative businesses are clustered in the UK regions where investment remains under developed. This is why we are holding our next investor forum on 19th September in Manchester in partnership with Creative England and the British Film Institute where we will be reviewing the opportunities for backing growth-focused businesses in this sector So do come and hear more about these opportunities on the 19th.
Our biggest challenge is the lack of data on our market and in understanding the key developments and trends in the Angel market here in the UK so that we can ensure the right support at both policy and practical level for our community. So I do hope that you will all support the latest Angel market survey that UKBAA in partnership with British Business Bank has commissioned to be launched across the UK from 16th September. We need as many Angels as possible to complete the online survey to provide a robust level of data on our market and the perceived opportunities and challenges for our community in the year ahead – please look out for the link.