Government And Tech City Launch ‘Future Fifty’ SME Programme

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TechCity’s Joanna Shields and George Osborne want to help 50 firms to IPO every year

Chancellor George Osborne and Tech City CEO Joanna Shields have launched Future Fifty – a programme for “high-growth” SMEs designed to help them get a listing on the London Stock Exchange and transform into global businesses.

Every year, Future Fifty will support 50 companies from various sectors, including technology and IT. To qualify, a business needs to be trading for 24 months and show revenue growth of at least 100 percent year-on-year.

“We’re going to be rolling out the red carpet to the world’s fastest growing companies and making it as easy as possible for them to list in the UK,” Osborne said at an event in East London on Thursday.

At the same event, network operator EE announced a partnership with TechCity that will see it supply 4G mobile Wi-Fi hotspots in key East London locations.

Tech City boost

According to research by NESTA, just six percent of businesses are responsible for generating over half of all new jobs in the UK. The government wants to help “high-growth” companies develop even faster and drive the country’s economy.

FFRecent reforms introduced by the London Stock Exchange have already made it easier for SMEs to go public. In March, a High Growth Segment opened for start-ups as a first step towards getting them on the UK Listing Authority’s Official List. Meanwhile, the government has relaxed regulation and abolished taxes on trading shares in emerging companies.

Future Fifty will feature companies from the UK and EU, as well as those further afield, but controlled by British owners. Its members will be able to count on support from the 96 offices of the UKTI’s Overseas Market Introductory Service, access to International Trade Advisers and the programme’s own pool of legal and financial experts.

The programme aims to connect growing businesses with investors, suppliers and customers, help them participate in trade delegations and attract talent from abroad through various skilled immigrant schemes.

“There is a rising tide of successful, high-growth businesses in this country. But if we want to enable them to achieve their true potential, transform the markets in which they operate and generate significant economic benefit, we must do everything we can to help them grow,” commented Shields.

“Too many companies leave our shores when they become successful. The Future Fifty programme will reverse this trend and ensure that the UK remains the best place in Europe to imagine, start and grow a business.”

EE has also announced it will support the government initiative by rolling out double-speed 4G in Tech City before it becomes accessible anywhere else.

Applications for Future Fifty membership are open on the programme’s website.

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