The British public wants the opportunity to crowdfund innovative British companies. That is the message from a YouGov survey commissioned by the BioIndustry Association (BIA) which shows that nearly nine out of 10 U.K. adults who expressed a preference agree that the general public should be provided with the opportunity to invest modest sums of money, if they wish to, into funds that will be targeted towards innovative companies.
Additionally, the same number of U.K. adults who expressed a preference agrees that the government should consider new funding policies that support innovative companies in the U.K. where bank lending is not an option.
These results demonstrate that the British public supports the introduction of new investment opportunities like the BIA’s Citizens’ Innovation Funds (CIFs) proposal.
“The British public would like the opportunity to invest in innovative British companies,” said Steve Bates, CEO of BIA. “The BIA believes that Citizens’ Innovation Funds would unlock the patriotic potential of the British public to support innovative businesses. These businesses are the key to jobs and growth for the economy of the future.”
Senior executives from BIA member companies met with ministers, including David Gauke MP, exchequer secretary to the treasury, and shadow ministers during the 13th annual Parliament Day to discuss key topics relevant to the bioscience sector including CIFs. The BIA will also be meeting with Treasury officials during the next few weeks to provide them further details of the proposal.
The CIFs would be a tax-advantaged investment scheme for the general public and the concept is based on the hugely successful French FCPI scheme which has raised more than $8.1 billion since its inception, leveraging more than five times the investment compared to the cost of the scheme.
"We believe that for the life sciences sector CIFs complement existing government actions, such as the Biomedical Catalyst, and will help ensure that equity-backed companies are not left behind,” said Bates. “We are also pleased to have brought together a coalition of supporters for the CIFs proposals from organisations such as the Confederation for British Industry, TIGA and the Association of British Healthcare Industries. This coalition recognizes the value that CIFs could present to small- and medium-sized companies across the spectrum of innovation.”