2019 marks the twenty fifth anniversary of the Enterprise Investment Scheme – as part of our commemoration, we asked investors and entrepreneurs associated with the scheme to describe their experiences of it. Here’s what they had to say:
Featured in the video:
Martin Sherwood, EISA, Founder
John Glencross, Calculus Capital, CEO
Helen Burgess, Little Cooks Co, Founder
Rachel Carrell, Koru Kids, Founder
Mark Twigg, Cicero Group, Founder
Chris Barrett, Angel Investor
Sarah Barber, Jenson Funding Partners
Lord Howard Flight, EISA Chairman
Martin Sherwood: The evidence is there, more and more companies are taking advantage of the EIS every year. It’s become better known with both entrepreneurs and investors. I had no idea that the scheme would still be going 25 years later.
John Glencross: The challenge when we set up the first fund was that we were the only fund but nobody knew what EIS was. EIS has changed dramatically over the years. We have more providers. We have more female entrepreneurs. We have more entrepreneurs from ethnic minority backgrounds. It’s a very exciting place to be.
Helen Burgess: Little Cooks Co is a subscription box business.It is the UK’s first healthy cooking kit for children. So I chose the seed EIS scheme. I needed an investment of cash to spend on marketing to really scale the business. It’s been the catalyst for growth for my business.
Rachel Carrell: Koru Kids is aiming to reform the 11 billion pound childcare market by building the world’s best childcare service. Given the tax breaks associated with EIS it de-risked the initial investment,which really got us off to a great start, it allowed me to hire my first employees. I think it’s a great scheme. I wholeheartedly support it.
Mark Twigg: Cicero Group is a company that’s been aroundfor 15 years. We offer integrated corporate communication services to our clients. It’s been incredibly stable as a tax regime and the prospect of having the tax relief on exit is absolutely a no-brainer. The EIS scheme has been fundamental.
Chris Barrett: Without the EIS tax breaks I don’t think I would have started looking at the opportunities to invest in much smaller early stage companies, but it’s led me into some fascinating engagements with quite innovative organisations.
Sarah Barber: Now is an absolutely phenomenal time to be backing small businesses. We are seeing absolutely amazing deal flow coming through so we can be quite choosey as to the types of businesses that we’re investing in.
John Glencross: There are people going to work tomorrow in companies, there are products and services available globally on the market, there are illnesses being treated, the environment being protected.So much of that has been made possible because EIS investment was available when those companies needed it.
Lord Howard Flight: What I really enjoy about chairing EISA is what it’s doing for this country. It’s creating new businesses, it’s creating new jobs, it’s advancing new technology. A lot of politicians look at the tax breaks and what they cost. They don’t actually look at the tax revenues that EIS generates which are greater. It’s made us the most entrepreneurial economy in Europe by a long chalk and I think it’s wonderful to see people getting on and doing their own thing and having the bravery to do it all.