As 2017 draws to an end, a number of significant events have culminated in making the last twelve months not only defined by Brexit, but a truly outstanding year for British business. Leading the charge, Chancellor Phillip Hammond labelled London the number one international financial services centre as part of his Autumn Budget, in addition to positioning the nation’s SME landscape at the heart of a global economy for the future. Adding fiscal momentum to his sentiments, Hammond pledged over £500m in a range of initiatives from Artificial Intelligence to 5G and full fibre broadband, unveiling an ‘Action Plan’ that stands to unlock over £20 billion of new investment for UK scale-up businesses.
Fortifying the Chancellor’s overall direction, further progressive movement was made within the EIS arena, with HMRC’s latest figures revealing that over £16bn has been raised through the scheme since its inception in 1993. The impressive statistics were underscored by the doubling of the investment cap for knowledge-intensive companies, again announced as part of the Autumn Budget. This, combined with the fintech sector breaking records with a staggering £825million in secured investment in 2017, as well as British SMEs leading a record year for private equity – with a deal value of €27billion – 2017 stands proudly as a great year for the UK private sector.
That is not to say that there won’t be challenges ahead. This was a year that political decisions affected investment choices more than ever, with one in ten investors revealing in IW Capital’s 2017 Investor Index that the seismic shifts in the political spheres both at home and abroad have directly influenced their investment decisions – more than any other deciding factor. However, with investment levels already back to – and in many cases surpassing – that of the pre-referendum period, SMEs are finding themselves in a strong position as they navigate Theresa May’s much debated Brexit plan. IW Capital’s very own portfolio activity – across both equity and debt-deals – serves as testament to this trajectory, with an incredibly successful live series B for fintech innovator WeSwap, in addition to further raises for Hill and Friends, Inglenook Inns and Taverns and Ubamarket, amongst others.
To kick start 2018, IW Capital will be releasing a new report – The Vested Investors Index 2018. The nationally representative body of data will discuss exactly how the upsurge of tech-innovation and new-age sectors is influencing the rise of a more ethically-aware investor, now more motivated by a greater sense of societal responsibility than ever before – alongside a lucrative financial agenda. Following on from this primary-survey, IW Capital will be releasing a suite of reports and market commentary that will provide further expert insight as to how the EIS and debt finance landscape will evolve in the aftermath of all that was in 2017, and how such events impact the business leaders and investors of tomorrow. See those and other future reports by joining IWC’s exclusive community – Access 42 – here.
Until then, from everybody here at IW Capital, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.