We’re delighted to hear that a new scheme has been introduced by the Westminster government that could open up new avenues of finance for small businesses.

As many of you already know, the overwhelming majority of the Scottish economy is made up of companies that employ fewer than 250 people. In all, 99% of all Scottish businesses are small and medium sized, and it is them that have been hit the hardest by the economic problems of the last four years.

As everyone is aware, there are major restrictions on available finance from banks, which has lead to businesses seeking alternative, and sometimes risky, forms of finance.

In April, the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme will begin, designed to encourage angel investments in new small companies. ? We are hosting a dinner for our Foundation members to discuss this and also re-financing debt and funding sources.

Craig Vickery, head of?the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants?Scotland, said: “Under SEIS, taxpayers who invest up to ?100,000 in a business that is less than two years old, has assets of less than ?200,000 and employs less than 25 people, can claim 50% tax relief, irrespective of which rate the investor normally pays tax at.

“Added to this, if the investor disposes of an asset in 2012-2013 and then invests the money under SEIS in the same year, any capital gains arising from the disposal will be completely exempt from Capital Gains Tax.

“With banks still unwilling to lend at terms that would be attractive to most new businesses, it is good to see long term investments being encouraged. Only time will tell if there are enough people with the available capital to invest in start-ups, but this scheme could certainly be a welcome break for Scottish start-ups, who will be so vital to the economy in the coming years.”

Ambassador in our Executive Team Graham Langley of Tiger Advisers commented

“The SEIS makes investing in SME businesses more attractive than ever before. ?It potentially opens doors to a whole raft of new investors on more advantageous terms.”

We are certainly enthusiastic about SEIS and will watch with interest to see what impact if has. ?Any scheme which suppports SMEs is a positive move.

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