Small firms welcome support in Budget but international growth and expansion low on budget agenda

Business Insights

£150 million fund for angel investment welcome but more could be done - SME experts

Investment experts Luke Davis, CEO of IW Capital, and Nayan Gala, co-founder of JPIN VCATS, discuss what more could have been done to help SMEs and startups

In his budget, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced his plans for the UK economy, with a number of policies introduced and a spending review setting out the damage done to public finances by the Coronavirus pandemic. Part of this Autumn Budget was a £150 million fund for regional angel investors as part of the Government's levelling up agenda and goal "to make the UK the best place in the world to start, grow and invest in a business".

Other key topics that many small businesses were looking to see addressed, such as business rates reform, saw £7 billion worth of cuts, however new support for businesses was lacking as National Insurance and wages continue to rise and schemes such as furlough come to an end.

With this in mind, investment experts give their verdict on today's announcement:

Luke Davis, CEO of IW Capital discusses the importance of SMEs to the UK economy:

"The spending announced in the Budget will be welcomed by the small businesses in the regions, but more should be done to support what is a vital section of the economy. I believe that the success of the SMEs of the UK and the economy as a whole are inexorably linked, especially over the next few years. With this in mind, we would have liked to see successful schemes such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme expanded to increase private investment into small, growing firms in the UK.

"There is a huge amount of talent and ambition in Britain's entrepreneurial ecosystem and helping them to grow and innovate should be high on the government's agenda. The past couple of years has been one of the most challenging periods for small businesses but entrepreneurs have been the guiding force to take the UK into the period of recovery and so more needs to be done in terms of resilience planning not only to survive but thrive and grow."

Nayan Gala, co-founder of startup investment bank JPIN VCATS comments:

"The UK's startup ecosystem in the regions will be pleased to see the increased funding for angel investors in the areas outside of London as this is a key area that is often overlooked, especially in the early stages. We were hoping, however, to see further support for this section of the economy which creates an enormous amount of jobs and wealth for the UK treasury, creating unicorns at a rate of roughly one a week.

"There is a huge community of international investors and businesses who want to help the UK grow, both in its businesses and economically. Therefore, a focus on the post-Brexit legislation needed to facilitate international cooperation and investment will be vital.

"One further aspect that should be a focus for the UK government is the furthering of international relations with key trading partners, namely India, a target for a free trade agreement that would be worth around £100 billion and would create a myriad of jobs and opportunities in both the UK and in India."