An investment forum dedicated to small and medium IT, electronic and communications start-ups has been organised by The Federation of the Electronics Industry (FEI) and is backed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The forum, which starts on February 24 in Newport, Gwent will bring business angels, interested in investing in innovative IT business ideas, face-to-face with the innovators. "There is a problem for small, high-tech firms trying to get investment of between £250,000 and £2.5 million," said Anthony Parish, director general of the FEI. "It's a problem that has been recognised by both the Bank of England and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)," he added, but neither organisation has done anything practical about the problem.
There will be 30 IT and electronic companies and 30 to 40 investors at the forum, which Parish hopes to extend to other areas of the country, including Scotland and Cambridge, if this venture proves successful. Parish also dismisses that the forum may tread on the toes of the DTI's existing Business Links. "They are more localised and not industry specific," he said, adding that despite the number of business angel schemes, including the Venture Capital Report, and those run by the Midland and National Westminster Banks, the problem for small high-tech companies still exists.
Other sponsors for the forum include Ernst and Young, Newbridge Networks and the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE). "There is a perception that high-tech means high risk," said Parish. "This forum will hopefully prove that this is not necessarily true."