Rapid responses

Start-up nation

[Re: Google’s awful day reminds us it is becoming less special, Friday]
I was interested to read Allister Heath’s comments on Google settling down to mundane normality. I have started half a dozen tech businesses in my time, and I agree that turning a tech start-up into a successful company is a path fraught with difficulties. In the 1980s, I had to take the very first tech company I founded to the US to get it off the ground. Conditions have improved since then, but there is still much we should be doing in the UK to help start-ups grow. We still have some of the world’s best universities, and we are blessed with a wealth of inventive young people willing to sweat blood to turn their ideas into businesses. But our technology infrastructure needs improving. Thankfully, there are some moves afoot to remedy this. The most crucial assistance every start-up needs is capital at the right moment so that they can reach the next stage and become a viable business. More often than not this is not available, and without it many young start-ups starve and die. A capital gains tax holiday, specifically for investments in start-up companies, would unlock investment capital. No other incentive would have such an effect for these companies. It could allow more small firms to grow into sleek healthy gazelles, able to lead us out of recession and back into growth.

Dan Wagner
Chairman and chief executive of mPowa

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