U.K. Launches Fund to Stop Companies Heading to U.S. for Capital

(Bloomberg) -- A U.K. government-backed bank started a funding program that seeks to stop British entrepreneurs from going overseas to raise money they need to scale up their businesses.

British Business Investments published a request for business proposals on Tuesday for its Managed Funds Program, which could eventually drive as much as 1.5 billion pounds ($2 billion) into high-potential companies in Britain, according to BBI Chief Executive Officer Catherine Lewis La Torre.

The average U.K. venture capital fund is one third smaller than in the U.S., and many British companies “get on a plane and fly” there seeking capital, Lewis La Torre said in an interview.

BBI, a subsidiary of British Business Bank Plc, will invest 500 million pounds of government equity into large-scale funds of funds as part of the program, which was announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond last year to close the U.K.’s patient capital funding gap. That money could leverage another 1 billion pounds from the private sector, including from pension and investment funds, said Lewis La Torre.

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