OxLEP boss Nigel Tipple says investors in spin out companies need to think long term to help keep the companies growing within the county.
Mr Tipple, speaking at a session on clusters and ecosystems at OxPropFest on September 14, said he had visited numerous firms as part of judging for a business awards scheme and was struck by the number telling him of their need for both early and ongoing support.
He said: “What was startling in terms of those conversations, was the need for early stage seed funding to help those businesses to grow.
“But the critical bit was when they needed to move from house to location, from location to multiple staff, from multiple staff to dedicated building. It was about having to have funding that followed them through the journey.”
He said he recognised the risk profile was more significant but also that it is time to talk to funders about longer term investments.
He went on: “The need to invest in the capability of the people because that’s what they are really investing in. The product comes along later, that’s when you start getting your return.
“So I think, culturally, we’ve got to start a different language . We’ve got to be talking to those who have finance and resources about the opportunity to invest in technology and the capability (of firms) and the journey we would like them to take with those businesses to allow them to move beyond two years or five years to 10 years.
“Then it’s about growing them. We are brilliant in Oxfordshire at spinning out companies and starting to get them to grow because they are subject to a lot of buyouts.”
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