Government outlines £150m hi-tech fund

Author: By Alistair Dawber

Gordon Brown said the Government would invest £150m, to be matched by private
sector backers, and said that the fund could be leveraged higher with
private investment over the next decade.

?This fund will help build Britain?s future by investing in key sectors. It
will provide crucial support for our most promising start-ups and existing
small companies just when they need it most. Venture capital finance is the
lifeblood of innovation and crucial to ensuring the commercialisation of the
discoveries coming out of our research base. The fund will boost future UK
competitiveness,? the Prime Minister said.

Plans for the fund were first announced in the Budget and the Government has
come in for criticism from some sectors, particularly the biotechnology
industry, which has said it has not acted quickly enough to allocate the
funds.

However, the Bioindustry Association (BIA) yesterday praised the announcement:
?We welcome the Government?s plan for an Innovation Fund and believe it will
make a significant contribution to securing the long-term health of the life
science sector in the UK, providing much needed follow-on investment to
early stage companies developing innovative technologies for the patients
that need them,? Clive Dix, the BIA chairman, said.

The fund is expected to be tapped by clean technology, bioscience and advanced
manufacturing companies.

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