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Ed Vaizey MPFinanceGovernment MinistersHomeStrategy

The biggest challenge in scaling up is investment

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Ed Vaizey MP, former Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, discusses the challenges of scaling up for SME's.

THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN SCALING UP IS INVESTMENT

I often say that when we’re talking about… The big question that people always say is “Can we have Silicon Valley in the UK or Silicon Valley in Europe?” We do have Silicon Valley in the UK in terms of skills and entrepreneurialism in ideas.

I think the big gap is about capital and investment and we have this big debate in the UK about scaling up.

I think the big problem is that we don’t have that kind of – what I like to refer to as a ‘wall of capital.’ You hear these anecdotes about venture capital firms in Silicon Valley that will back 100 companies and the one that is successful effectively pays for the 99 investments that weren’t so successful.

I think it’s changing a lot. We as a government obviously put in place favourable tax regimes to help start ups and Tech City which is the government organisation that supports the tech economy has been very good at identifying high growth companies, supporting and nurturing them.

We now have this new term “The Unicorn,” which effectively identifies a European company that’s worth £1 billion and we need to get better at shouting about those success stories in order to attract the kind of investment we need to scale up.

The big challenge for me in scale up is not skills. It’s not management talent. It’s investment.

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