Peer-to-peer platform Simple Crowdfunding has backed the Save Our Start-ups campaign which urges the government to rescue start-up businesses at risk of collapsing due to Covid-19.
There are almost 30,000 start-up and high-growth businesses in the UK which employ 3.3 million people. Despite making a huge contribution to the economy, they are unlikely to qualify for the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme.
In an open letter, the campaign has called for the government to follow the French and German governments which have already crafted support for start-ups during the crisis, and to provide an equity-based liquidity package suitable to save start-ups at risk.
It has also called for the government to fast track payments to start-ups from public funding schemes, in particular R&D tax credits and Innovate UK funding grants, and to change the Enterprise Investment Scheme, Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, and Venture Capital Trusts to stimulate private equity investment into start-up and high-growth businesses.
“We have started lobbying the government to say something needs to be done because there’s a huge proportion of small business start-ups with substantial employment and activity in our communities and they need to be protected,” said Atuksha Poonwassie (pictured), co-founder and managing director of Simple Crowdfunding.
“I think it’s important to protect start-ups and scale-ups and other small businesses that could potentially fall in between the cracks.
“They form a valuable portion of our economy and we should be able to help them in this situation.”
The campaign, launched by crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, is being supported by Innovative Finance, UK Business Angels Association, Brent Hoberman, the co-founder of Lastminute.com, and Alex Chesterman, the co-founder of Zoopla, among others.
“Britain has a proud history of innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurship,” the Save Our Start-ups’ open letter said.
“However, today’s entrepreneurs are being forgotten during the Covid-19 crisis, which threatens their existence.
“We all want a swift end to this health crisis, but we also desperately need to protect the future of our economy during these challenging times.
“The UK government must act now to protect Britain’s entrepreneurial future, so we do not lose a generation of start-ups and high-growth businesses to Covid-19.”