• Countdown’s Rachel Riley presents 12 accolades to first winners of the Growth Investor Awards at a dinner for 300 industry leaders at Marriott Grosvenor Square
  • Octopus named Growth Investor of the Year and Best VCT Investment Manager for ‘using its size and scale to continually innovate’
  • Kathryn Robertson presented with Industry Champion Award for her contribution to the development of EIS, SEIS, VCT and SITR
  • Speeches on economic importance of venture capital from Financial Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke MP, and Swoon Editions co-founder Brian Harrison


Over 300 market leaders, movers and shakers, and influencers from the SME finance industry gathered at the Marriott Grosvenor Square in London’s Mayfair on 22 October to celebrate its contribution to economic growth and honour winners of the inaugural Growth Investor Awards.

The Awards are organised by Intelligent Partnership (IP), the UK’s leading provider of research and education on alternative investment, as part of a national campaign to raise awareness of impact and innovation in growth capital.

Opening the ceremony, IP’s Managing Director Guy Tolhurst said: “Tonight we honour those innovating in financial services and putting investment to work in SME’s. They do things differently. They don’t see venture capital schemes as just a way to save their clients’ tax. They see businesses that can innovate, grow and create new jobs – and in doing so they make us all more prosperous.”

A short film about growth capital, compiled by Intelligent Partnership and broadcast at the ceremony, included perspectives from founders and industry leaders as well as key statistics. The combined turnover of Britain’s small businesses is £1.2 trillion, they employ £12.1 million people*, and 22,470 High Growth Small Businesses (HGSBs) created 230,000 new jobs last year – accounting for 34% of employment growth and 20% of economic growth**.

The economic importance of tax advantaged venture capital schemes was a theme for two keynote speeches at the ceremony. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke MP, highlighted the broader economic impact of the billions that have been invested in SMEs through EIS, SEIS and VCT in terms of employment and tax contributions.

David Gauke, said: “It’s important to acknowledge the key role played by growth investors in helping small businesses start, expand, and reach their full potential. The government provides a range of support to encourage this type of investment, including through the tax-advantaged venture capital schemes which have supported more than 22,000 companies to access over £17.5 billion of investment. Without access to the finance they need to develop their vision, companies with great ideas would struggle to fulfil their potential, and Britain would lose out.”

Brian Harrison, Co-founder of online furniture retailer Swoon Editions talked about the support beyond investment from those who manage venture capital schemes.

Brian Harrison said: “The relationship we have with our investors is critical to the ongoing success of our business. We take their money very seriously; around half of it has come through tax-advantaged schemes. Support of the ecosystem by government is critical in enabling businesses with high growth potential to flourish and we have definitely benefited from schemes such as EIS.”

A two stage judging process to identify 12 winners from 36 finalists was supported by a panel of 35 independent judges. Daniel Kiernan, IP’s Research Director who headed up the shortlist, commented: “By designing a judging process around impact beyond investment on investee companies, the Growth Investor Awards enables the industry to demonstrate its unique contribution while differentiating its leading players. The credibility and prestige of these awards comes from an influential Advisory Board and an eminent panel of independent judges.”

The biggest winner on the night was Octopus Investments, who won Best VCT Investment Manager and Growth Investor of the Year – the top award. Judges said “Octopus is optimising its size and scale to not only develop their portfolio businesses but drive innovation that is enabling the evolution of the wider industry”.

Big individual winners on the night included Kathryn Robertson, who was presented with the Industry Champion Award for her contribution to the development of legislation for EIS, SEIS, VCT and SITR. Carl Lamb of Almary Green was crowned Financial Adviser of the Year. Judges said Carl had “demonstrated a high commitment to awareness, education and promotion of alternative investment – from appearing on local television to writing articles in the regional press”.

Other winners included Barclays (Wealth Manager of the Year); MMC Ventures (Best EIS Investment Manager); TIME Investments (Best BPR Investment Manager); Daedalus Partners (Best SEIS Investment Manager); Deepbridge Capital (Most Impactful Investment ); Syndicate Room (Best Investment Platform); and Mercia Technologies (Industry Game Changer).

The 2015 Growth Investor Awards campaign is supported by corporate partners including Bovill, DWF LLP, LGBR Capital, Mainspring, Matrix Solutions, MICAP, RAM Capital Partners, Reyker Securities, and RW Blears.

Details of all winners and runners up can be viewed at https://growthinvestorawards_new.dev/winners/.

*Dept for Business, Innovation & Skills

** High Growth Small Business Report 2015, Octopus Investments & CEBR

Leave a Reply