The Angel Investors Club, an investment platform for high-growth ethical and Sharia-compliant companies, held a Roundtable discussion on the start-up ecosystem for Sharia-compliant businesses in the UK.
The UK is the leading Western country for Islamic finance outside of the Muslim world. It also has a very unique set of rules around Venture Capital funding (S/EIS), allowing start-ups to attract investment from Angel investors, from a very early stage.
Ali Kazmi of The Angel Investors Club commented “When people talk about the Islamic finance industry, they often refer to the magic number of 2.5 to 3 trillion dollar industry globally – however how much of this money actually supports the start-ups at grass root level? I suspect not much of this money actually flows down to start-ups”
Stella Cox CBE, who was invited to join the Roundtable and is a member of the AIC Advisory Board, remarked “With such a strong Financial Services sector (in the UK) and with the existing regulatory framework in place, it has meant that the UK has been able to accommodate the rise and the expansion of the Islamic finance sector a lot more readily than any other in Europe”. Ms. Cox CBE also added “The UK was the first Western country to issue a Sovereign Islamic Bond (Sukuk) and since 2005 its financial regulator has authorised 6 fully Sharia compliant banks”
The Roundtable also discussed the role of, and challenges faced by, BAME entrepreneurs in founding businesses, as well as start-up business investment eligibility from the perspective of S/EIS mechanisms to attract early-stage capital. The full discussion will be available to download soon at https:/www.angelinvestorsclub.co.uk/