by Bob Huxford
A team from Newgate attended the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain event at the London Stock Exchange yesterday. Interestingly, the speakers at the event were full of optimism for UK business and the opportunities for growth.
One significant positive on which the panel, consisting of representatives from HSBC, Cenkos, Business Growth Fund and The Telegraph, were all in agreement, was that availability of capital from the UK for small companies was far better than four years ago, when the LSE first held the event. Companies now have many more options by which capital can be accessed. These range from crowd-funding and peer-to-peer lending to support entrepreneurs at the very early stages, through to Venture Capital, and as companies mature, the potential to use the hugely successful AIM market (£30m is now the average size of a fund raising on AIM) to access a deep pool of capital on an ongoing basis.
It was also said that the UK leads the world on finance policy. We have an unrivalled tax relief framework for investing in smaller companies. People here will risk money on small companies knowing that they’ve already made considerable tax savings. Other countries, such as the US, don’t have these policies and would be better for it. Opportunities by which the financing environment could be further improved were also mentioned, such as the pooling of the UK’s 89 local council pension funds to create one of Europe’s largest pension schemes which could fund major infrastructure projects.
Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, noted that although Brexit is an issue for many firms there are more important issues to be addressed. Creating the best business environment possible within the UK, to enable companies and entrepreneurs to flourish and fulfil their full potential, is paramount. This means not just providing an excellent tax and financing environment, which we already have, but excellent infrastructure across the whole of the UK, including phone and broadband coverage.
Ensuring strong trade with other nations is also not just about trade deals, as the Brexit debate might have us believe, but is about hosting great trade fairs and trade missions and assisting and educating companies on the practicalities of getting out into the world, removing the complexity of exporting.
This was an inspiring event for inspiring companies that, despite the current climate of uncertainty, left us feeling positive about the UK’s prospects as the dynamic, innovative and business friendly nation that it is.