We must back the start-ups that will navigate us out of this storm

Linda J. Dodson

Great companies are built out of financial crises; we mustn’t forget to help the great new start-ups that could transform our economies

Markets across the globe have been declining at a rate not seen in decades. Companies have laid off entire workforces. Record numbers are flocking to welfare systems. To put the current crisis into perspective, the financial downturn of 2008 caused unemployment rates in Europe to rise to 11pc, over a four-year period. Estimates predict April’s figure will hit 8pc following just a single month of lockdown.

A recession is coming. So this is exactly why now is the time to be ramping up investments; not shying away from them. Now’s the time to encourage Europe’s brightest founders to take risks and for us to show that, when it comes to VC, the market is very much open for business.

Following each recession of the past 50 years, those who continued to innovate and took bold steps are the ones still reaping rewards. Disney took centre stage following the Great Depression, Microsoft was born from the 1973 oil crisis; Ocado blossomed as the dot.com bubble burst and Amazon was one of the winners of the financial crash. These companies and their ambitious founders didn’t let market instability stall them, and neither should the next-generation of business leaders.

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