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Capital View: fuelling London's ambition - Chris Hurley

London and its success story owes much to its population of small and medium-sized companies. These firms embody the dynamism and ambitious spirit of working in the Capital, and it is only right that the Evening Standard shines a spotlight on their achievements, alongside some of the biggest names of British business.

That’s why we are supporting the inaugural Evening Standard Business Awards and the SME Business of the Year category.

For us, private equity is all about helping management teams fulfil their ambitions and build the market-leading businesses of tomorrow.  We believe that private equity can have a transformative impact on a business - offering an ideal catalyst for growth.

For some, new investment enables a change of ownership – often providing the opportunity for a management team to step in after a founder steps back, or even to acquire the business from its parent company and take it forward in a new direction.

For others, the primary goal is to bring a strategic investment partner on board. This often involves selling a minority shareholding in return for growth capital, whilst taking on additional external expertise. The funding can also be used to fuel acquisitions, helping businesses to drive market consolidation or build scale quickly – both at home and abroad.

Building a partnership with management teams is what we look to do with every one of our portfolio companies. Over the past 35 years and through 500 investments, we have seen that the most successful partnerships are those based on trust, a common vision and a shared ambition for market-leadership.

And in London, LDC has done just that. It has supported the growth of 200 small- and medium-sized businesses, investing more than £600m over the last five years alone in companies as diverse as price comparison site uSwitch, Quaglino’s restaurant owner D&D London and leading online travel agent Iglu.com.

Looking ahead, we are confident that the Capital has much more to offer. That’s why LDC has committed a further £450m to invest in the next generation of London-based SMEs over the next three years.

Now, as we rapidly approach the inaugural Business Awards, it is worth taking stock of the inspiring stories it has recognised from right across the economy, and applaud the passion, vision and accomplishments of those shortlisted.

For our part, we look forward to continuing our support for the next generation of management teams in London and contributing to helping them flourish and fulfil their potential.

Chris Hurley