By Andrew James
From my engagement with Software Cornwall and our involvement with Superfast Business Cornwall, I am aware of the number of businesses engaged in the tech sector in this region and the growth in those numbers.
A 14% rise and increased activity across the regions
Earlier this week, my eyes were drawn to a news report that stated that “The number of new tech companies launched in the UK rose 14 per cent in 2018”. This was based on data from Companies House which showed “there were 11,864 software development and programming businesses incorporated in 2018, up from 10,394 companies the year before.”
Whilst a little disappointing that “London and the south east still dominate”, it was pleasing to read that there are “ encouraging signs of increased activity across the regions”.
Fueling this growth
I would concur with RSM who compiled the figures that “tax incentives such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme, R&D tax credits, video games tax relief and the Patent Box regime are all playing their part in helping to fuel this growth” but would add that some of the main drivers in Cornwall are entrepreneurial spirit complimented by a physical infrastructure (e.g., superfast broadband and innovation centers); clusters/ networking opportunities, access to business support and funding opportunities.
Equity to the fore
My colleagues and I have previously written on a number of grant schemes that could be accessed by tech companies including national funding competitions operated by Innovate UK and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly programmes such as Cornwall Agri tech and Marine i.
The thrust of Innovate UK’s recent initiatives to link up grants with equity is I recall based on research that showed that this package of funding was more likely to see a successful outcome for the company. In terms of scaling up equity can again be part of the ‘right’ funding package; bringing with it private and / or intuitional expertise and contacts, as well as funding that matches with company’s requirements.
A planned breakfast briefing
Some of you may be aware of the monthly breakfast briefings that we host at our Truro office. We are currently planning one on the subject of ‘Equity for tech businesses’ in conjunction with Foot Anstey and whilst details have yet to be finalised, we will be covering amongst other aspects:
- EIS and SEIS (what tax investor reliefs are available and why you need to consider them?)
- Sources of funding (other sources of finance to work alongside equity and minimise dilution of founders)
- Investor readiness (what an equity investor will look for)
For more details of the ‘Equity for tech businesses event, please keep on the events page of our website, or to book a place in advance of details being posted up please send me an email.