Jeremy Hunt’s Plan to Nurture Homegrown Investors and Boost UK Innovations
Jeremy Hunt is set to make a groundbreaking announcement in his autumn statement, unveiling a US-inspired scheme aimed at developing homegrown science and technology investors to ensure that UK innovations have a commercial payoff. Amid concerns that Britain often fails to fully exploit its scientific breakthroughs, the chancellor is expected to introduce plans for a fellowship program that will train a new generation of science and technology venture capitalists.
Hunt believes that a modest investment in nurturing specialist venture investors will not only boost growth but also generate breakthroughs in crucial areas such as vaccines, robotics, and artificial intelligence. The £3m scheme, which will offer up to 20 places, is based on the highly successful Kauffman Foundation in the US, which has trained more than 800 investors representing funds worth more than $1tn.
A Treasury source emphasized the importance of the British science and technology industry, stating, “The British science and technology industry holds the key to exponential growth that will turbocharge our economy for decades to come.”
The scheme, to be developed by the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology, follows a recommendation from the prime minister’s Council for Science and Technology, a body comprised of science experts. It is designed to address the UK’s need to develop deep science and technology expertise within the venture capital industry, with the aim of making the UK a science superpower.
Hunt’s initiative is part of the Mansion House reforms announced in July 2023, seeking to unlock more pension capital into high-growth companies, particularly within the UK’s science and tech sectors, to the benefit of savers and the economy.
According to a source from the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology, the scheme aims to unlock real financial firepower for world-class innovation happening in the UK, building British-based industries in the technologies of the future.