Venture capital funds totalling £240m for small and medium sized businesses in high technology sectors were announced this week.
The three funds include a £120m regional development fund set up by Baring Private Equity Partners, in collaboration with parent ING Bank and the European Investment Bank, and a £100m fund established by the venture capital company Advent, aimed at start-up and early stage high tech firms.
The Advent fund includes £7.5m from the European Investment Fund. It will put 80% of its money in the UK.
A third funding package comprises £20m for the network of Midland Enterprise Funds, to be raised by Midland Bank and the European Investment Bank.
The new funds were announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown in a speech to a conference on venture capital, growth and employment at Guildhall, London.
The conference was also addressed by the French finance minister, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, whose presence reflects the closer links with France promoted by the Franco-British Taskforce on Entrepreneurship.
Under the taskforce, launched in March to promote entrepreneurship, the Treasury is keen to learn about the French system of tax credits for research and development. It also wants to hear about changes to French R&D funding which facilitate the move into commercial development.