The European Commission has started a pilot scheme to promote high-tech start-ups to venture capitalists.
The Ecu7.5m (£5.03m) I-TEC fund will pay for evaluation and early management of investments in innovative small and medium-sized enterprises.
It has been set up under the commission’s `first action plan for innovation’, which identified problems securing first-stage capital as a big problem for innovative European firms.
`One of the greatest obstacles to getting venture capital funds to invest in technologically advanced concepts has been the cost funds incur in assessing them,’ said Marc Verlinden, the DG13 official managing the I-TEC project.
`I-TEC is intended to give the funds a greater ability to build up a resource of staff more capable of understanding and appraising the newest technologies. The main factor, therefore, is not the amount involved, but where it is being aimed,’ he said.
I-TEC will meet up to half the costs of `initial appraisal and hands-on management’ of small high-tech firms by the funds.