“As an organisation overall, I got a really strong impression of the value of the ‘on-tap’ advice available to businesses using the incubator facility. And of the flexibility they’ve had to show to adapt to a changing funding environment by spotting contract opportunities and adapting their business model.
The session with reps from banks/lenders as well as business was an excellent discussion with some very varied views… but where I think all parties agreed was that banks should always be providing businesses they decline to lend to with (a) clear feedback on why the application has been declined and what it would take to get it up to scratch, and (b) referral on to alternative funding sources…. But this seems to happen patchily in practice. Also a pretty clear consensus that Government needs to explain the various types of support for bank lending more clearly, and in a way that increases business confidence while also emphasising the importance of ‘investment readiness’ and not raising false expectations of ‘easy money’.
In the session with recent/new start-ups, we talked a lot about funding for early stage growth – there was some scepticism about the role of Angels in providing early stage funding (some interesting examples of where start-ups had invested a lot of time in identifying/pitching to Angels, without success). Experiences of Technology Strategy Board (TSB) funding were positive, and a strong overall message that Government should be providing more direct funding to start-ups to help them get closer to being market-ready without the distraction of raising finance.”