Worcester MP Robin Walker has welcomed news that companies in Worcester can now apply for a convertible loan of between £125,000 and £5 million, to support continued growth and innovation in sectors as diverse as technology, life sciences and the creative industries.

The government has made an initial £250 million available for investment through the Future Fund scheme and will consider increasing this if needed. Private investors – potentially including venture capital funds, angel investors and those backed by regional funds – will at least match the government investment in these companies.

Match fund investors will be encouraged to sign the Treasury’s Investing in Women Code, which commits firms to improving female entrepreneurs’ access to tools, resources and finance. The Future Fund is a signatory of this.

The government will also amend the rules of the Enterprise Investment Scheme, which provides tax relief to investors in high growth firms, to protect Future Fund investors from losing relief on their previous investments made prior to any investment through the Future Fund.

The Fund will be open until September and is delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank.

In addition to the Future Fund, Ministers have allocated £40 million through the Fast Start Competition to drive forward new technological advances, and to support innovative start-ups, including a virtual-reality surgical training simulator and an online farmers’ market platform. This will give companies a vital boost, fast-tracking the development of innovations borne out of the coronavirus crisis.

Commenting on the announcement, Robin said:

“The Future Fund is great news for high growth and innovative businesses here in Worcester, helping them build the bridge from today’s severe challenges to the period of recovery, enabling them to survive then thrive.”

“I have been speaking with local employers and believe that rewarding innovation and supporting businesses that have been doing the right thing by their employees at this time is vital.”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:

“Our start-ups and innovative firms are one of our great economic strengths, and they will help spur our recovery from the pandemic.

“The Future Fund will support firms across the UK to get through the pandemic by stimulating investment, so that they can continue to break new ground in technology and innovation.”

Oliver Dowden Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said:

“The UK is a global tech and creative hub. We are an unashamedly pro-tech government and are supporting high-growth businesses through this challenging period, so they can prosper and succeed.

“The tech sector has played a crucial role throughout the pandemic and these innovative firms will be key to driving growth through our recovery.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  • Latest figures on the UK-wide government support schemes for businesses and workers can be found here.
  • The Future Fund is open to UK-based firms, that have previously raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third parties in the last 5 years. They will also need to have investors to provide funding to be matched by the government and have half or more of their employees based in the UK or generate at least half of their revenue through UK sales. The loans will convert to equity if not repaid.
  • Companies can check they meet the criteria for funding by going to the British Business Bank website. If they have secured private match funding, one of their investors can register online to start the application process.