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UK Innovation Investment Fund

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the liability his Department would incur in the event of a confirmed downturn in the performance of the UK high technology investment fund; what criteria would be used in determining whether such a liability had to be paid; and if he will make a statement. (289939)

The UK Innovation Investment Fund is a 10-year Fund of Funds. The Government are committing £150 million of tax payers' investment to the UK Innovation Investment Fund and we expect to leverage significant investment from the private sector.

We aim to appoint an experienced Fund of Funds manager in December to manage the fund and make investments in underlying technology funds with the expertise and track record to invest directly in technology businesses. The Government and Capital for Enterprise Limited issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) from prospective Fund of Funds manager(s) on 3 August. The RFP sets out the Government's expectation that private and public funding should be invested on a pari-passu basis and that private investors should not receive advantageous terms. Bidders are asked to set out their investment strategies and demonstrate how they will raise money from private sector investors.

It will not possible to say any more about the nature or terms of investments into underlying funds until an investment mandate is awarded.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what criteria will apply to the provision of funding to businesses from the UK Innovation Investment Fund; when funding will begin from the Fund; what steps he has taken to inform small and medium-sized enterprises about the fund; and whether he has set a target for the time between applying for funding and receiving funding. (291631)

The fund will operate on a Fund of Funds structure which means it will not invest directly in companies, but rather invest in a small number of specialist technology funds that have the expertise and track record to invest directly in companies. The fund will only invest in those companies that have strong survival and growth prospects.

We hope to announce the appointment of a Fund of Funds Manager by Christmas 2009 and anticipate that the Fund will start investing soon after that.

There have been a number of events to promote the fund to all interested parties and there will be further events during autumn 2009 and beyond.

The Department wishes to see the fund supporting firms as soon as possible.

However, it will be down to the Fund of Funds Manager(s) to allocate funding in the most appropriate manner.