What does the 2019 General Election mean for startups and SMEs?

“Next week voters face their starkest choice yet, between Boris Johnson, whose Tories promise a hard Brexit, and Jeremy Corbyn, whose Labour Party plans to “rewrite the rules of the economy”. Mr Johnson runs the most unpopular new government on record; Mr Corbyn is the most unpopular leader of the opposition. On Friday the 13th, unlucky Britons will wake to find one of these horrors in charge.”  – The Economist 

The result of the election, for better or worse, is inevitably going to have an impact on the potential fortunes of your startup. We’ve done some investigating into the manifestos of the three main parties topping the polls – Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrats, to shed light on what their policies might mean for your business. This article touches on just a few of the policies and their potential impacts. We do not intend to offer a value judgement of any form, instead, we hope to provide a high-level overview of policy changes. 

The Conservative Party 

The mantra ‘get Brexit done’ dominates the Conservative manifesto, with few radical policy changes that could negatively impact small businesses, other than the economic impacts of Brexit itself. They hope to leave the EU in January and continue negotiating a trade agreement with other countries throughout 2020; experts predict that to leave without a deal would make average incomes 8% lower than they would otherwise have been after ten years.

Embedded within the manifesto are some modest policy changes that could benefit startups; they have promised not to raise income tax and VAT, cancelling “plans to lower Corporation Tax, keeping it at 19 per cent,” with the hope to “redesign the tax system so that it boosts growth, wages and investment”. They also pledge to clamp down on late payments and “support start-ups and small businesses via government procurement, and commit to paying them on time” in an effort to “support small businesses that are exploited by their larger partners.” 

Additionally, they plan to “expand start-up loans, which have particularly high take-up from women and BAME entrepreneurs”. So far, the British Business Bank has supported “90,000 smaller businesses with over £7 billion in investment or loans, and will continue to grow.” They have also announced a £3bn National Skills Fund, which will provide “funding for individuals and SMEs for high-quality education and training”. 

The Labour Party

Labour, if elected, hope to negotiate a new Brexit deal within 3 months, prioritising protecting workers rights, a UK Customs Union and an alignment with the single market – then putting the deal to a second referendum. 

Nationalisation prevails in their manifesto, requiring increased taxes on businesses and individuals. Corporation tax would be increased from 19% to 21% by April 2020, with further rises taking it to 26% by 2023. For small businesses – which Labour have defined as those with a turnover below £300,000 – “the current 19% corporation tax rate would be retained initially, rising to 21% by 2023”. These actions could taint the current attractive corporation tax rate in the UK, which helps promote foreign investment.

Additionally, they plan to “rapidly introduce a Real Living Wage of at least £10 per hour for all workers aged 16 or over” using “public finances to help small businesses manage the extra cost”. They plan to give individuals working regular hours for more than 12 weeks, the right to a regular contract, as opposed to zero-hours. Further, they plan to get rid of entrepreneurs’ relief – the charging of capital gains tax at 10% on up to £10m raised from selling a business, in an attempt to reform what they believe is currently “an inefficient system of tax relief”. The manifesto also mentions setting up a Business Development Agency, which would offer “free support and advice on how to launch, manage and grow a business”.

The Liberal Democrat Party 

The ‘middle way’ appears to characterise the Liberal Democrat manifesto, relative to the increasing divergence of the Labour and Conservative positions, offering a centre-left stance on free market capitalism, With regards to Brexit, the push to stop it in its tracks by revoking Article 50 is clear, in favour of open markets and a liberal society.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto offers an apparent end the Brexit saga and unreformed taxation policies. This would not only see an end to Brexit anxiety, but means that small businesses would also be able to operate under the same terms as they are used to. Liberal Democrats want to take Corporation Tax to 20 per cent “and keep the rate stable with a predictable future path.”

Vince Cable, Jo Swinson’s predecessor, is a firm advocate of the startup scene, just days before the election, he is giving talks on topics such as ‘The State of Entrepreneurship in the UK’. His party introduced the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Growth Accelerator, a 4-year programme helping rapidly expanding SMEs. Further to this, R&D programmes, support for flexible IP rules, and regional creative enterprise zones demonstrate the party’s alignment with the needs of small businesses. 

The Lib Dems wish to broaden the role of the British Business Bank, by introducing a ‘start-up allowance’, to encourage entrepreneurship by helping with living costs during the formative period of businesses. Additionally, they hope to “support investment in new UK digital start-ups by reforming the British Business Bank’s support for venture capital funds to enable it to help funds ‘crowd in’ new backers rather than acting as a funder of last resort.” From a training and development perspective, they are proposing “a new Skills Wallet for every adult, giving people £10,000 to spend on approved education and training courses”. 

These policies demonstrate that innovation and business entrepreneurship remain a priority. Yet the uncertainty brought about by Brexit and its subsequent effects on business arguably tarnish the potential contribution of such policies, making the advantages seem merely compensatory in comparison to the damage already caused. It is also worth remembering that manifesto claims are not always substantiated, as the Institute of Fiscal Studies’ General Election Manifesto Analysis shows. It makes for some interesting reading as we wait to see the outcome of Thursday’s election. 

Bioplastics company – Teysha Technologies – completes £1.2m EIS funding round on Angel Investment Network

Amsterdam: Plastic waste floating in a canal in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

According to the UN, 300 million tonnes of plastic waste is produced every year. If current trends continue, our oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050. Confronted by increasingly urgent global issues, more and more entrepreneurs and investors are working to see business objectives align with what’s best for the planet. The bioplastics company Teysha Technologies are doing just this, by helping tackle the world’s plastic problem. 

With a world-leading team, Teysha has created a material patented, renewable, fully biodegradable plastic substitute. Using organic waste matter, they can create polymers for 100s of different applications: whether you need a hard casing for a lipstick packaging or a flexible wrapping for a retail item, they can do it. From building insulation to car dashboard moulding, the potential is vast.

The product also completely bio-degrades back into earth-friendly organic matter, and even this process can be tailored. For example, the product can be broken down in water in a matter of hours, weeks or years, or it could be waterproof yet still breakdown in compost.

Coca-cola “coke” bottle washed onshore – maria mendiola

Teysha has successfully raised £1.2m of investment, supported by Angel Investment Network (AIN). It is also one of the handpicked companies featured on SeedTribe, an online community connecting profit-with-purpose startups with expertise and investment. The investment is being used to deliver prototypes and secure contracts, allowing them to tap into the global bioplastics market which is set to be worth $43.8Bn in 2022. 

Duncan Clark, Director of Operations at Teysha Technologies said: “We are delighted with the interest we have received from AIN investors. Made from all-natural and inedible agricultural waste streams, Teysha’s second-generation bioplastic is the result of decades of R&D. One of the biggest challenges facing bioplastics, as this new industry evolves, concerns the fate of the products when their use has ended, our product tackles this by breaking down to its constituent earth-friendly organic building blocks.”

According to AIN’s Sam Louis, Head of Consultancy, who led the fundraise: “Teysha’s technology creates an incredible opportunity for how we produce materials. The investors on our platform were really drawn to its ability to answer the growing demand for sustainable plastics, its inherent versatility and the ability to create so many different products depending on need. It’s exactly the sort of company we love to be involved with and we have seen a significant rise in interest among investors for impact-led businesses of this type.”

With exciting times ahead, the company’s future is looking undeniably bright. Teysha is part of a movement of companies paving the way for change. This is made possible by the foresight of investors, who are using their influence to support businesses which align profit with purpose, to help create solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.

If you’d like to explore pitches from a huge range of entrepreneurs around the world, click here.





How is Angel Investment Network different from crowdfunding?

From crowdfunding sites to online platforms like Angel Investment Network (AIN), there are a multitude of options available to entrepreneurs looking to fundraise. Making the right decision can be a daunting task and it’s sometimes hard to choose the right strategy and identify value. You may be asking yourself, where does Angel Investment Network stand in all of this, if it’s not a crowdfunding site? 

We’ve highlighted a few of the ways AIN differs from crowdfunding, offering a valuable alternative to the ubiquitous crowdfunding sites:


1. Sophisticated investors

Our investors are self-certified as sophisticated investors and/or high net worth individuals. They are typically looking to invest a significantly higher amount than the average crowdfunding investment of just £68. Instead, ticket sizes average at a healthier £50,000. With AIN, you’ll have less small ticket investors and a lower administrative burden, making it easier and quicker for you to raise money. 

2. International Reach 

We have investors from almost every country in the world. Crowdfunding platforms can struggle to achieve this because of varying regulations around crowdfunding in different countries.

3. A flexible service 

AIN offers a very flexible service that grants you access to a large network of potential investors. Unlike crowdfunding, once the initial connection is made, users can take further discussions off-platform and we don’t take part in processing payments. How you then work with them is entirely up to you and the investors: round size can change, valuation can change, it’s as flexible as you like, for as long as you like.

On AIN companies can even complement their profile with any other fundraising avenues that they are exploring – there’s no exclusivity. 

4. No hidden fees

Our platform works on a straight upfront listing fee, and can even be free. With crowdfunding, you will usually be charged a commission on all the funds you raise during your campaign. Our fee doesn’t change if you get more investment, making it a very cost-efficient option.

5. Diverse sectors and investors 

Often crowdfunding platforms can be less effective with businesses that aren’t as universally appealing or consumer-facing. We have companies from almost every sector on the platform, from IT and communications startups to medical ventures. AIN allows users to broadcast their idea to thousands of potential investors looking for new businesses to invest in.

We don’t just have angels, we also have family offices, funds, Venture Capital, and Private Equity firms on our network. It is rare that you would find these on a crowdfunding platform.


We have raised over £300 million for startups around the world, and have built a global network of thousands of entrepreneurs and investors.

Could you benefit from our global network of investors? Click here to get started.