Equity investment in small businesses has more than doubled over the past three years, according to a new report by the British Business Bank. It says the number of deals completed in the first three quarters of 2014 was up by 170% compared to the same period in 2011, whilst the amount of investment increased by 125%. The British Business Bank will invest £400m of new funding over the next three years in venture capital and it will also deliver the pilot for the Help to Grow scheme, investing £100m in growth loans for high-potential businesses.
Consumer gripes about shopping online
Almost half (45%) of UK consumers say they still prefer to shop on the high street instead of online, according to a new survey by Rackspace. And 34% of shoppers say they will give up browsing online after ten minutes if they can’t find what they want. The top five consumer frustrations with online shopping include: too many irrelevant pop up adverts; too many options; complicated search tools; less service than in-store; lack of personalisation.
Women “returners” starting up online businesses
Startup Direct has seen a sharp rise in the number of women seeking start up finance and mentoring. In 2013 women over the age of 30 made up just 25% of enquiries to the government start-up loan provider, but this grew to 57% in 2014. The trend, it says, is being driven by “returners”; women who have taken a break from the workplace to have a family. James Pattison, ceo of Startup Direct, said: “A growing number of women are disillusioned by the difficulties of combining family life with a traditional 9-to-5 job. The internet has made it easier than ever to start up a business from home and women are drawn to the prospect of being their own boss, choosing their hours and cutting childcare bills by working flexibly around family life.”
IP Toolkit launches
The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has launched an IP Finance toolkit to help business owners understand and present the value of their intellectual property to potential lenders. It has been developed so that small businesses can use their IP assets to secure the finance they need for company growth. Baroness Neville-Rolfe, minister for intellectual property, said: “The UK now invests more in ideas and brands than factories or machinery. Small businesses are the economic bedrock of the UK and it is vital that we help them exploit their IP to secure appropriate finance and grow.”
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