Chancellor George Osborne has revealed a new programme called Future Fifty designed to try and boost the UK start-up sector by offering select high-growth companie investment advice, promotional support and trade advice.
This will be delivered through a mix of government and private sector mentors to help start-ups navigate the numerous and diverse publicly funded schemes and programmes available to them. Start-ups will also receive advice on how to structure partnerships and deals in overseas markets.
"We need to back the insurgent businesses that back the new jobs in our economy," said Osborne at an event attended by V3 on Thursday. "This means not only supporting the industries like aerospace but supporting the entrepreneurs of tomorrow."
According to Osborne, Future Fifty will persuade many UK start-ups to stay rather than head tp the US for investment opportunities. The programme will also encourage high-growth companies elsewhere in the world to base their headquarters in the UK, he added.
"We will be rolling out red carpet to the world's fastest growing companies and making it as easy as possible for them to list in the UK," said Osborne. "They will bring new investment and jobs to our shores."
Applications for the programme will be open from today, available for 50 high-growth companies. Selected companies will have been trading for two years with a revenue growth of at least 100 per cent a year.
Osborne revealed a number of successful US and European start-ups that have just created bases in London, including Ticketmaster, Lookout and Box. Box has announced its new facility in London today, along with 100 jobs.
In parallel to the Future Fifty announcement, Osborne announced the abolition of stamp duty on AIM shares and a change in regulation to allow their inclusion in ISAs.
Such a move could reduce the expense for angels in investing in smaller, fast-growing companies, boost liquidity in their trading and significantly lower their cost of capital.
"We are doubling down on entrepreneur and angel investor. We have a plan and we will not shirk from this course," said Osborne.
Osborne listed all the assistance the present government has given to the UK start-up sector, including the creation of the Tech City initiative and the introduction of entrepreneur visas.
Osborne also mentioned the tax breaks he has given the sector. For example, start-up founders only need to pay 10 percent capital gains tax when they sell shares in their business and angel investors are given up to 50 percent tax relief on any sum they invest in start-up companies. The government also recently abolished financial transaction tax to encourage more UK firms to remain put.
Meanwhile Xavier Rolet, chief executive of the London Stock Exchange Group, welcomed the offer of opportunities for those in the start-up sector despite the tough economic climate.
"We want to make sure these companies no longer go overseas to tap into capital. I want to thank the chancellor for taking such courageous action," said Rolet. "Entrepreneurs have told us it's not about [problems with] the labour market or pricing power, but it's about access to capital."
At the same event, Osborne announced that EE will next month unveil a partnership with Tech City to provide businesses in the East London area with early access to fast mobile broadband. He said 4G mobile Wi-Fi hot spots would be rolled out in Tech City from this June.
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