Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller, Economic Development’s lead for digital, skills and entrepreneurship, said she would like to see more incentives considered to support start-ups.
‘For example, the UK has a quite successful enterprise investment scheme which has been running for almost 30 years,’ she said.
‘They have different variations of it providing smaller or bigger tax breaks, income tax breaks and capital gains tax breaks, depending on how early the stage of your business is.’
There were also innovation funds, grants, research and development credits and lots of private venture capital and private equity firms in the UK.
‘We really don’t have almost any of that.
‘We have facilities such as the Guernsey Investment Fund with the tech and media, and property cells which is partly government funded,’ continued the deputy, but otherwise it was largely private individuals investing.
Deputy Kazantseva-Miller acknowledged there might be nervousness in Guernsey about government direct investment into companies given the controversial Jersey Innovation Fund that came in for a barrage of criticism.
‘Providing tax incentives is a different way around it because you are reducing the risk profile of investments,’ she added.
But direct investment was still important with many tech innovations, such as the internet, funded by governments.
‘If we look historically, it’s a myth to say it is just private money that funding all the innovation and all the wealth creation. Governments around the world always play an absolutely critical role,’ said Deputy Kazantseva-Miller.
‘I think that’s very important because we are such a small island where the government does play a huge role.
‘We own the majority of our infrastructure. The public sector is a large part of both GDP and employment.
‘We do have the opportunity to really invest, but co-invest.
‘To me, it’s finding models of public-private partnerships where we are sharing the risk and we are effectively investing into the economy in different ways.’