Despite the potential for a Grexit, and possibly a Brexit, business confidence continues to grow and start-ups proliferate in ever increasing numbers. However, starting is easy; finding funding to enable it to grow is the hard part. Venture capital and private equity funding is scarce for start-ups and banks shy away from companies with no track record and no assets to provide as security. The usual port of call at such a stage is friends and family so great if you have wealthy friends or a rich Uncle or Aunt.
The existing tax environment for investors is better than most - under SEIS and EIS individual investors can invest up to £100,000 and £1,000,000 per annum respectively and obtain income tax relief at the rate of 50% and 30% assuming all other conditions are met. Hold the shares for long enough and they will be exempt from capital gains tax on disposal. If capital gains is payable on all or any part of the investment, entrepreneurs' relief may be available restricting the capital gains charge to 10%. Crowdfunding continues to grow and gain credibility (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-33053471) as Andy Murray is announced today as having joined the advisory board at Seedrs.
Yet, at a recent lunch, I was shocked to be told that last year £2bn was raised for start ups/early stage companies in the UK; a lot it seems until I was then informed that over £4bn was raised in Boston, USA alone in the same period for similar companies. Risk appetite in the UK, it seems, is not as great (by some margin) as in the US. With over 500,000 UK millionaires and a very favourable tax environment for investors, we should be raising more!