Innovative start-ups need networks & expertise more than capital

In the lexicon of headlines, this is a low for journalists, bloggers and me personally.

And yes I’m on holiday, but this just came through, and I thought it was worth posting. It’s a press release from NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts in the UK).

It’s so hot I’m posting it on the stroke of midnight (with aforesaid clunky headline), just as the press release embargo ends but a nanosecond before the carriage turns into a pumpkin 😉

Their headline is equally un-zingy in its literalness.

“Business support vital to bridging “equity gap”, says NESTA chief executive”

But hark at the content:

“The UK’s innovative start-ups require greater assistance in becoming “investment-ready”, NESTA chief executive, Jonathan Kestenbaum said today. Speaking in response to a new Library House report into the “equity gap” in the UK innovation economy, Kestenbaum commented:

“The debate around the so-called “equity gap” has raged for sometime and is likely to continue to do so. However, more importantly, this report points to the emerging consensus of an “investor-readiness gap”, especially for innovative start-up businesses. These enterprises often lack the business acumen and sense of the market to effectively commercialise their concepts and the crucial issue is therefore not one of the equity availability but of accessing equity.”

“Access to capital is only one of the critical ingredients required for embryonic businesses. Access to networks, mentors, role models and expertise is often more important than capital.”

I think Mr Kestenbaum might be onto something… he should come to the next Beers & Innovation on 14th September.

In case you’re none the wiser about NESTA, they are:

“working to increase the UK’s capacity for innovation, investing in all stages of the innovation process, backing new ideas and funding new ventures that stimulate entrepreneurship. It is the largest single source of early stage financing in the UK, and combines this investment with the provision of high quality mentoring and networking support for innovative business start-ups.”

And FYI, NESTA are currently reviewing their strategy.

Now, where’s that carriage?

[8th December update: NESTA have relaunched their website and the Innovation Gap report published in October 2006 can be downloaded from here]


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