The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) yesterday hosted its annual VCT conference for directors of venture capital trusts, with a focus of the morning being the positive impact of VCTs on the UK’s SMEs. The AIC also published its fifth annual survey of VCT investment, ‘Going for Growth: VCT investment 1997 – 2013’.

The AIC has collated comments from Calum Ryder, Managing Director of 'Its All Good', and Jeremy Banks, CEO of Coolabi Group, both of whom discussed the opportunities created by VCT funding for their businesses at the conference, and Ian Sayers, Director General, AIC.

'Its All Good' is a high quality snack manufacturer of tortilla chips, backed by NVM’s VCTs. Calum Ryder, Managing Director, said: “My experience is that a VCT investment provides a number of key benefits in a small, progressive and relatively capital intensive business such as ours. The core benefits are obviously about ensuring that the business is adequately funded to fulfil its strategy.

I find there is real value in the investment dynamic a VCT brings versus an asset based lender. As an active shareholding investor, the VCT has a commonality of purpose with the owner managers, and are able to bring a broad expertise and fresh perspective to the board table, as well as promoting a culture of good corporate governance.”

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Coolabi Group is a family entertainment company whose properties include Clangers, Poppy Cat, Bagpuss and Beast Quest, and which is backed by specialist creative industries venture capital trust Edge Performance VCT. As well as providing funding, Edge Performance has provided specialist expertise and has helped with strategic acquisitions.

Jeremy Banks, CEO, Coolabi Group, said: "VCT investment has been essential to the development of Coolabi. Edge Performance VCT is a specialist fund run by people who understand the creative industries well. Edge Performance has given us time to develop, the growth capital we needed and the ability to make acquisitions which have really made a difference."

Ian Sayers, Director General, AIC, said: “As our survey shows, one of the most exciting things about VCT investment is the breadth of companies they support. In a wide range of sectors, right across the UK, VCT investment is supporting growing businesses, creating employment and delivering positive returns for investors.”

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