If Malcolm Graham's long, hard search for £40 million for a state-of-the art hardboard mill is anything to go by, the prospects for rebuilding Britain's lost industrial base look bleak. Fortunately, Tech-board's story has a happy ending.
The business start-up is the Cinderella of corporate finance. To Malcolm Graham, that description must seem like an insult to Cinderella. As Graham discovered in a five-year odyssey in search of funds, the money that financial institutions earmark for greenfield ventures is barely detectable. Even venture capitalists, supposedly at the outer reaches of financial risk, habitually reach for the smelling-salts on hearing the words 'start-up'. Under 10% of venture capital money goes into start-ups and a high proportion of that from just one institution, 3i.