We asked Jenny Tooth, CEO at the UKBAA, why they’ve headed north, and what plans they have for the region in the future.
Why did you choose the North for your Summit? What was the main reason to come to Manchester?
The majority of equity investment still takes place in London and the South East, and UKBAA wants to help ensure there is a connected supply of finance for growth businesses from startup through to scale-up across all the UK’s regions, and especially for the Northern Powerhouse regions.
We’re delighted to bring our summit to Manchester because there is a thriving entrepreneurial scene here – including some fantastic initiatives to bring more angel finance and support to growing companies – and huge potential for investors to back exciting businesses and passionate entrepreneurs based in the city.
Why are angel investors important to the Northern eco-system?
Angel investors don’t just bring money to fledgling businesses, they also bring a wealth of experience, skills and contacts, which can really help take growth businesses to the next level. Many angels want to invest in businesses in their local economy and can provide a massive boost for early-stage companies in their region that are ready for investment.
Currently, there is a lack of visibility of angel investors in the North and we are very keen to work with Tech North and other key organisations to build a significantly larger supply of angel investment in order to back the great companies we see developing in the region. We would also love to see more angel groups forming in the North!
How can the investment ecosystem grow in the North?
It’s great that there are a number of new investment developments in the North, such as the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and the new Accelerated Digital Ventures fund. These funds offer huge opportunities to leverage more private investors and really stimulate the flow of more finance into the North.
What we’d like to see is a really connected ecosystem here in the North, where both sources of finance and those who are working with entrepreneurs can come together to really drive an effective supply of finance for companies from startup through to scaleup.
What did you think to our investment index?
I’d like to congratulate Tech North for reflecting a fantastic year for investment in Northern tech companies in 2016. This also demonstrates the impact that Tech North has had since it was set up in helping bring more investment to back great Northern tech entrepreneurs.
However, there is more to be done if we are to ensure companies can find the investment they need here in the North. We thus fully support Tech North’s proposals for a Northern co-investment fund to leverage more private investment here in the North.
What is going to be discussed at the summit?
We are really proud to be bringing together over 35 expert speakers to talk about the latest developments and investment opportunities in the North. The debates will very much be focusing on what are the challenges for building a sustainable base of finance here; and considering how we can all work together to ensure better connectivity in the future.
We will also be highlighting some great entrepreneurs and look forward to showcasing a significant number of Tech North-backed businesses, enabling them to interact with investors at the summit.
What do you expect the summit to achieve?
We see the summit as an opportunity to build awareness about the exciting developments and opportunities in the Northern regions.
The summit is not an end in itself, it is part of a broader programme of activity that UKBAA has planned – working with Tech North and other key players in the region – to stimulate increased angel and early-stage investing. This will include setting up new angel hubs in various cities in the North to provide a focal point for angel investors – helping them access new investment opportunities and meet other investors.
Are you looking to hold more events in the North?
Yes! We hope to hold similar summits in other major cities across the North. In the meantime, we are planning a number of awareness and capacity-building workshops – again, working with Tech North – to encourage more angel investors to come forward. We will be launching this new programme of activity for new and existing angel investors in May 2017.
Any advice for the companies looking for investment from an angel investor?
If you’re looking for angel investment, ensure you really understand how your company can substantially grow and scale. Be sure to have clearly identified the investment that you need – and be able to communicate to an investor how angel backing could take your business to the next level. Lots more information and advice for entrepreneurs is available on our website.
Any advice for the people who are thinking of becoming angel investors?
If you are interested in backing local businesses that are looking to grow and scale, and if you have some spare financial capacity and business experience, then we’d love to hear from you. Angel investing can an enriching experience, giving you the opportunity to use your financial capacity and your skills to help develop entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Angel investors in the UK also have the benefit of accessing fantastic tax breaks through the Enterprise Investment Scheme, helping offset the risk involved. Do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can link you through to one of our upcoming workshops or to our soon-to-be-released e-learning programme, which guides you step by step through the angel investing process.
Image credit: Matthew Black / Flickr
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