Thursday, April 23, 2009

Virginia's Previous Attempts at a UK-style Investment Fund

Virginia legislators have debated policies similar to what was just announced by Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in Britain. Two examples are posted below. It would be great if all of the candidates for Governor would look at innovative programs like these. This was one of the key recommendations from the Virginia Biotechnology Initiative back during Mark Warner's term as Governor.

So far this year, Terry McAuliffe does include the state-supported VC concept in his plan. Maybe we can get Brian Moran, Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell to weigh in as well.

HB 1572 Venture capital funds; creation of an investment program.

HB 75 Venture capital investments; creates program which makes investment return guarantees for certain.

UK Govt Announces $1B Advanced Tech Investment Fund

LONDON, April 22 (Reuters) - The UK's high-tech industrial sector will get an investment of 750 million pounds ($1.09 billion) through a fund focusing on advanced technology, the government said on Wednesday.

The Strategic Investment Fund -- announced by Chancellor Alistair Darling in his annual Budget speech to parliament -- will provide financial support, focusing on emerging technologies and regionally important sectors in, for example, advanced manufacturing, digital and biotechnology.

As part of the fund, 250 million pounds will be earmarked for low-carbon investments, a further 50 million pounds for the Technology Strategy Board and 10 million pounds for UK Trade and Investment.

The Technology Strategy Board cash will be used to increase its capacity to support innovation in areas that have high potential to drive future growth, such as low-carbon technologies, advanced manufacturing and the life sciences, the budget report said.

National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts Chief Executive Jonathan Kestenbaum welcomed the new fund, saying it would help to regenerate the UK economy.

"The fund will give a new vibrancy to the UK's technology market and will bring about deep and lasting change to our economy," he said.

However, it falls well short of the 1 billion pounds that was hoped for by the biotechnology industry.

In the budget report, Darling also said the government would be looking at whether to change the tax system to encourage global firms to locate their R&D activities in the UK.

Richard Barker, Director General of UK trade body Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said: "It could have significant impact on how companies make their investment decisions."

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