Jenny Tooth outlines what to expect from Future Forward: UKBAA Investment Summit

Jenny Tooth

Next week sees the launch of UKBAA’s three-day Future Forward event where we are looking back at the impact of the 2020 crisis for the angel and early stage investment market and looking at what 2021 will bring. We will be focusing on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, as we seek to reset the economy and to rebuild and further grow the entrepreneurial finance ecosystem across the UK.

Future Forward will be focusing on three key themes over the three days and which will be fundamental to the finance landscape in 2021 and of core interest to the investment community. Each daily theme will be considered through keynote addresses, panel debates and roundtable discussions, drawing on the insights and expertise of leading players across the industry.

Day one, 24th November, will precede the Chancellor’s spending review, and will focus on the Future of Finance when we will be looking at the implications of the £15billion annual equity gap across the UK and what is needed to rebuild the investment supply chain and build economic recovery. We will be reviewing throughout the day, different aspects of the finance value chain, how these have been impacted by the pandemic and how we can ensure that we have an effective and connected investment ecosystem to address the future growth capital needs of scaling entrepreneurs across the UK.

We are delighted to be joined by leading industry speakers, including Catherine Lewis La Torre, newly appointed CEO of the British Business Bank, and Judith Hartley, the new CEO of British Patient Capital, who will review the BBB’s role in addressing the finance challenges for small businesses during the pandemic and in building the supply chain of finance from start up through to long-term growth. We will also be joined by Irene Graham, CEO of the Scale-up Institute, who will review the implications of the Future of Growth Capital report that she co-led. Irene will also draw on the recent findings of the 2020 Scale-Up review launched this week, looking at how Scale-ups have performed during the crisis and what are the prospects for strengthening our scaleups in the year ahead.

We will be hearing from an industry panel of leading players including Innovate Finance, BVCA, VCTA, and UK Finance, looking at the investment market’s response to the crisis and how to rebuild the investment supply chain and address the structural imbalances that currently exist for access to finance. We’ll also be exploring what more government and industry can do to support the industry to reset the future of small business growth. Whilst leading representatives of the angel and VC market will come together in a roundtable debate to consider what we have learned from 2020 and what the future of angel and venture investment should look like in 2021.

The theme for our second day, 25th November, will be “Investment in Diversity – a Strategy for Change’. 2020 has really shone a light on many of the long-standing challenges around diversity in the investment market here in the UK, in terms of access to finance for underrepresented groups and the lack of diversity in the investment base. This day is an opportunity to come together with leading players from across the ecosystem to unpick the existing challenges and inspire meaningful change. We are delighted to begin the day with a short address from Alison Rose CEO of NatWest and author of the important Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship on behalf of HMT last year. Alison will give an update on what progress has been achieved since the review was published, including the Investing in Women Code and what more needs to be done. We will also be highlighting the work our community is doing across the UK to encourage more women to angel invest. Our panel of leading players from the angel ecosystem across the UK will be setting out their own approach to increasing access to investment for female founders and strategies that they are working on within their own communities and discussing what more needs to be done across government and the investment market to address these systemic challenges.

During the day, we will be looking at the latest data on diversity and how this can help us develop effective strategies for change. We are delighted to be joined by Alice Hu Wagner, MD Strategy, Economics and Business Development at the British Business Bank, who will present the latest findings of the report “Alone Together” on Entrepreneurship and Diversity. This will be followed by a roundtable reviewing the results of two major reports on the challenges for access to investment for Black Founders. Tom Adeyoola, successful entrepreneur and co-founder of Extend Ventures will highlight the results of their latest research report “Diversity Beyond Gender”, highlighting the barriers faced by black businesses who are receiving only 0.24% of VC investment in the UK. Andy Davis of 10×10 will present the findings of the Black report on the barriers for black founders in setting up, growing and funding their business. They will be joined by key representatives of the investment community to debate these findings and how to achieve lasting change. The day will close with UKBAA’s exclusive investment showcase of 10 Black Founders in Tech as part of the TechInvest series, in partnership with Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Our third and final day, will address the important theme of creating a level playing field for the UK regions in relation to access to investment for regional entrepreneurs. “Connected Investing” will look at how we can build an effective and connected, entrepreneurial finance ecosystem to support economic growth across the UK regions in 2021. We are pleased to be joined by Henry Whorwood, Head of Research and Consultancy at Beauhurst, to take us on a tour of the UK and its thriving sector clusters and venture capital scene and also share his findings from his latest research on the UK’s exit scene. The day will put the spotlight on some of the most exciting tech clusters and successful investors from around the country, including Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Midlands. Leading local players from industry and investment will discuss the top sectors and key drivers behind their growth and innovation and where the best opportunities will lie for investors going forward. A roundtable will end the day looking at levelling up as a key strategy to achieve regional economic growth. This exclusive debate will explore the challenges and opportunities for regional angel groups in building investment capacity and what initiatives can help stimulate more capital to be deployed outside the golden triangle into great regional entrepreneurs.

We do hope that you will join us at Future Forward to explore these key themes over the three days for the future growth of the investment market from start-up to scale-up here in the UK. Looking forward to continuing the debate.

Future Forward: UKBAA Investment Summit takes place from Tuesday 24th November to Thursday 26th November 2020. Tickets are free for UKBAA members and costs £49 (+VAT) for non-members. Get your tickets at: http://futureforward.ukbaa.org.uk/

By UKBAA19 Nov 2020