Venture capital fund may slow brain drain

Analysis - The brain drain of New Zealand talent and future earnings may be slowed by one of the government's few business-centric Budget policies.

The $300 million venture capital investment fund is aimed at helping small start-up companies take the next step to develop their products and find markets.

"New start-ups are well served but mid-sized ones, between $2m and $15m in size, are not well supported," Economic Development Minister David Parker said.

"We also want to increase the amount of technology that gets commercialised and to lift the level of innovation in New Zealand."

The Super Fund will provide $240m of the money, with the balance from the Venture Investment Fund, which will manage the programme. Another $26m will be used to support start-up companies involved in developing high value-low emissions products.

In recent years a host of small New Zealand companies have headed to Australia to raise money to expand and develop products, many complaining that investors across the Tasman better understood investing in high risk, technology oriented ventures.

The new fund offers the chance of keeping the brightest and possibly most lucrative in this country.

NZ Private Capital executive director Colin McKinnon said there has long been a gap in the market, which the new policy should help fill.

"The proposed government programme is expected to help private investors establish new funds, that will invest in New Zealand's most promising fast-growth companies."

Time will tell if another Kiwi technology winner such as Xero is in the making, but this fund should go some way to helping it happen.

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