Great Britain, and London in particular, has long been seen as the startup epicentre of the world outside Silicon Valley. We are the envy of the rest of Europe, but this accolade is under threat from COVID-19 and the subsequent inaction from the UK Government.
Right now, every minute seems like an hour for entrepreneurs around the UK battling to protect their fledgeling businesses. Other European countries have raced to rescue its startup and tech communities, with French and German Governments committing €6bn in funding.
The UK is sluggish by comparison, and further delays are unforgivable and threaten thousands of promising startup and high-growth businesses with huge potential.
Imagine a world without the likes of Monzo, Revolut, BrewDog, Deliveroo, Zoopla, OVO Energy and Bulb. Millions of people rely on them, love their products and services, but not long ago, they were startups themselves setting out to make their vision a reality.
Without immediate action, the UK will lose its position as a lively hub for ambitious entrepreneurs who want to leave their mark on the world.
This three-point plan outlines what needs to be done to protect Britain’s startup and high-growth businesses:
- The Government needs to provide an equity-based liquidity package suitable to save startups at risk.
- The Government must fast track payments to startups from public funding schemes - in particular, R&D tax credits and Innovate UK funding grants.
- The Government must change EIS, SEIS and VCTs to stimulate private equity investment into startup and high-growth businesses.
Startups are vital for a vibrant economy; they give so much energy, innovation and are the catalyst for change and disruption, as well as employing hundreds of thousands of people and contributing hugely to the economy.
I came up with the idea for Save Our Startups (SOS) because I felt strongly that the plight of startups was being ignored and something needed to be done to put it at the top of the Treasury’s agenda. I wanted to unify the startup community right across the board, from entrepreneurs, founders and their communities, to crowdfunding platforms, VC, angel networks, incubators, accelerators, coworking spaces and industry bodies, with a clear message to the government.
We turned the SOS campaign around in just 48 hours, and I’ve been overwhelmed by the people who have joined Crowdcube in making this happen. With the backing of renowned British entrepreneurs like Brent Hoberman, co-founder of Lastminute.com, Alex Chesterman, Co-founder of Zoopla, LoveFilm and Cazoo; and Arnaud Massenet, Co-founder of Net-a-porter.
The UK Government must match our haste and act now to protect Britain’s entrepreneurial future, so we do not lose a generation of startups and high growth businesses to COVID-19.
Thanks to Brent Hoberman, Arnaud Massenet, John Spindler, Dom Hallas, Jenny Tooth OBE, Jonathan Sibilia, Mark Brownridge, Jasper Smith, Natasha Guerra, Russ Shaw, Jeff Lynn, Doug Monro, Andy Fishburn, Charlotte Crosswell and Robert Walsh for your support making this happen.
Find out more and join us in supporting this campaign, here.