UK innovation needs backing

13 Sep 2007 View Comments
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A lack of funding is hindering UK innovation

UK innovation is being hampered by a lack of early financial support, according to startup incubator St John’s Innovation Centre.

St John’s hosted the Gorillas of Tomorrow conference in Cambridge last week, which showcased a variety of research developments from three-dimensional modelling to nanotech-enabled next-generation printers.

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But insufficient seed funding is making it harder for high-tech developments to make the leap from the drawing board to the market.

Venture capitalists are increasingly reluctant to put money into high-risk fledgling projects, said St John’s head of business support Peter Hornby.

‘If you look at Cambridge six or seven years ago, there were several seed funds focused on early-stage investment, but now there are none,’ he said.

‘Venture capitalists want projects that have moved on to a stage where they can invest larger sums, but if you do not have that seed source, eventually there will be less opportunities.’

UK investment in early-stage business technology development has plummeted by £99m to £303m in the past year, according to figures from researcher Library House.

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