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Deborah Dunleavy: How the Peel Policy Forum is helping kick start business in the North West

Dunleavy deborahDeborah Dunleavy is Director of Business for the Peel Policy Forum. Follow Deborah on Twitter.

Last month, Number 10 launched a new national initiative in the North West, with Brooks Newmark MP as their representative, hosted by the Peel Policy Forum, a newly established think-tank.

The vibrant city of Manchester was the first stop in the regional tour for Number 10's new investment scheme. Launched at a time when confidence in new small business has never been lower, this scheme offers unique opportunities to support new businesses in the North West. With twelve years of work in private equity, a senior Government Whip and Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, Brooks Newmark MP, met with representatives of the business community in the Manchester region to discuss this scheme and how it can bring prosperity to local business in the area. A spectrum of support gathered together at an event hosted by the Peel Policy Forum (PPF), which is the North West's first and only think-tank.

Announced in the Chancellor's 2011 Autumn Statement and part of the Government's agenda for national growth, this scheme offers generous tax breaks for individuals investing in qualifying companies. Just as young homeowners are currently struggling to get a mortgage, new entrepreneurs struggle to gather the capital to start new ventures. This project offers tax incentives to support these challenged new businesses.

Brooks Newmark MP commented, "I am delighted for Manchester to be the first place in my regional tour to launch this important scheme. I look forward to speaking with local businesses and financial advisors at the Peel Policy Forum to try and gather enthusiasm for this fantastic investment opportunity."

As Director of Business for PPF and a former director of a small business, I felt incredibly excited at the announcement of the new Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, and the obvious investment opportunities it can bring to the region, coupled with the subsequent boost to growth we hope this scheme will instigate.

We were delighted that the launch was received with great enthusiasm, and some interesting and sometimes surprising points came from the meeting. A mix of investors were present, including some very experienced Angel Investors. One of these Angels raised a concern from within his own community: that although some Angels were active, some were passive, with the result that whilst they were happy to provide the financial backing for a new start-up, they then didn't invest enough of their time to ensure success.

It was quite clear that 'mentoring' a new business is equally, if not more, important than providing the monetary investment. Enthusiasm around the table was infectious and most encouraging for the outlook for entrepreneurship and small business in Britain. It was agreed that this new initiative had presented a unique opportunity for Angels to consider working as teams, and therefore provide a more productive and engaging way to offer entrepreneurs all they need.

What PPF have been able to offer is a unique forum in which to do this, and we immediately arranged provisional dates to host other such events in Liverpool and the Wirral. I believe the PPF scheme fits perfectly with the Government's recent announcement a new scheme Chaired by James Caan to offer young entrepreneurs investments of £2500 in a new business start-up.

It looks like young entrepreneurs could be the catalyst to kick start some much needed growth in Britain.

More information about the Government's Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme can be found here.


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