FSE and VitalSix have announced an innovative opportunity for individual investors to participate in a portfolio of businesses with growth potential based in the Thames Valley. The Thames Valley EIS Fund is intended as a complement to a £7.3 million initiative from the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Economic Partnership (TVB LEP). Investors will be supporting the next generation of businesses with the intention of creating future jobs and prosperity in the Thames Valley. Investee companies will be chosen for their potential for strong capital growth and be expected to be eligible for Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) tax reliefs plus, where possible, the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) tax reliefs. Most of the investments from the Thames Valley EIS Fund will be matched with a loan from a £1.55m loan scheme funded by TVB LEP.
The fund will be managed by a local, experienced EIS fund manager, FSE Fund Managers, who already provides growth finance to ambitious young businesses and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (formerly the Financial Services Authority).
VitalSix will deliver a programme of support to companies applying to the EIS Fund. Applicants will participate in a programme of development including leadership training through the High Growth Accelerator at Henley Business School and business coaching from experienced entrepreneurs.
Investments will be made on a purely commercial basis, with the goals of maximising financial returns to investors and creating sustainable businesses and employment.
FSE chief executive Kevan Jones said: “Using FSE’s 10 years of experience in supporting small businesses, we intend to create and actively manage a portfolio of exciting high growth companies in the Thames Valley, enabling them to develop the technologies of tomorrow and go on and compete internationally.”
Ed Cooper, director of VitalSix, said: “We’re excited that a number of factors have come together to assist ambitious local companies to scale up and thrive. Our team’s knowledge and know-how, the expertise of Henley Business School, FSE’s fund management skills plus the new loan capital from the LEP, combine to deliver a powerful offer to vibrant local SMEs to ensure they have the skills and finance they need to grow and prosper.”