HL Deb 29 October 1999 vol 606 cc53-4WA
Baroness Serota

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What was the outcome of the consultation on Addressing the SME Equity Gap—Support for Regional Venture Capital Funds. [HL4473]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville)

I announced to the House on 6 July (Official Report, col. WA79), that the Government were seeking views on the design and form of the support for the creation of the regional venture capital element of the Enterprise Fund.

During the consultation exercise, over 1,000 copies of the consultation document, Addressing the SME Equity Gap—Support for Regional Venture Capital Funds, were distributed and over 100 replies have been received. The distribution and replies covered a wide range of interested groups and individuals; entrepreneurs, small firms, Regional Development Agencies, the venture capital and finance industries, business support organisations, local authorities, academics and other interested parties.

The proposals for regional venture capital funds received a significant level of support from respondents. All SMEs and entrepreneurs supported the outlined proposals as appropriate methods of incentivising the creation of viable, regionally based venture capital funds to invest in the equity gap, and nearly 9 out of 10 respondents overall expressed the same view. There was widespread agreement that the lack of small scale equity finance was an inhibitor to growth, especially for SMEs.

A full summary of responses to the consultation document have been placed in the Library.

In November the Government will issue bidding guidance, informed by the responses to the consultation exercise, to regional partnerships proposing to stimulate the creation of regional venture capital funds.