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FIG manifesto calls for a more open funding landscape

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Find Invest Grow (FIG), a venture capital group that invests in businesses founded by students and recent graduates, has released a manifesto that sets out its ideas for boosting British business. The manifesto proposes specific changes that should make it easier for individuals to start their own businesses, create their own jobs, contribute to future wealth generation and cultivate economic growth. 

More can be done to harness the potential of Britain’s entrepreneurs, and hopefully, the government and the private sector will build upon existing policies to create a better environment where young businesses can thrive. 

That’s what FIG is calling for. Specifically, they want: 

  •  More opportunities to get in and out of early-stage investments;
  •  Enhanced education for all stakeholders on the risks and rewards of start-ups; and
  • A culture enhanced by government policy, that celebrates and champions start-up businesses.

“If the UK is serious about getting its economy back on track, changes can be made to promote entrepreneurship and stimulate investment in start-ups,” said James King, founder of FIG and one of the manifesto’s authors. “Our manifesto sets out a pragmatic approach that, if adopted, will set Britain’s early-stage businesses on course for a better future.”

The manifesto puts forward ten practical changes, from extensions and current tax reliefs to increasingly flexible investment mandates and more efficient grant systems. These promise a real difference to those starting up and investing in new British businesses. Free up funding and create better incentives for setting up a business and investing in one, is clearly the main message. 

“Finance is the beginning, and all too often the end, for start-up businesses. Support is available from a variety of sources, and not necessarily the most obvious places,” the manifesto stated. It calls for an extension of the Enterprise Investment Scheme, and a funding landscape that is easier to navigate.

Interestingly, FIG also calls for an open access to pension funds. “In the US more than 30 per cent of investment in venture capital and private equity comes from pension funds,” tit said. In the EU, it’s less than 20 per cent.

Mark Hanington, another founder of FIG, said: “The FIG manifesto provides a clear and practical way forward to boost British businesses. We recognise this is part of a broader program of change to bolster the economy, but initiatives like this, from the grass roots of business, can really make a difference. Our proposals are not academic; we are calling for very specific and detailed changes that we know first hand – from our own experience – will truly make a difference.”

We’ll be talking more about the UK’s funding landscape at Real Business Funding, the free conference to illuminate the new, more plural funding environment for growing SMEs. Join us on March 15, 2013, at the British Library, and join the discussion on Twitter at #unleashingfinance.

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Speaking at Real Business Funding: Alastair Mills
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