Business Angels shine a light on investors in England’s Northwest

The Northwest Business Angels network remains as popular as ever, providing early stage investment to entrepreneurs hoping for commercial success.

Co-ordinated by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), Northwest Business Angels follow a similar concept to the BBC programme Dragon’s Den, connecting young and growing companies seeking financial assistance with investors actively looking for profitable business opportunities in the Northwest.

Investment seekers are asked to pitch their products, services or ideas to the audience made up of “Business Angels”, with the chance to secure investment of anything from £10,000 to £500,000. Typically the investment is used to start up, expand or help build a healthy profit.

Each month the Northwest Business Angels Investor Club Meetings take place in venues across the region – and these are proving to be as popular as ever, attracting a steady number of finance seekers and Business Angels (investors).

The most recent event took place on Tuesday 2nd November at Renaissance House, the NWDA HQ where eight companies pitched for investment to a total of £1.2 million.

Due to popular demand an additional date has also been added to the calendar and will be held at Business Link’s Preston-based HQ. This event will take place on Tuesday 9th December.

In order to fulfil demand for investment, the NWDA is actively looking for new Angels to join the network, while the Northwest Business Link Access to Finance team offer a free service to enable finance seekers to become ‘investment ready’ prior to the events.

Mark Hughes, Acting Chief Executive at the NWDA said:

“As more and more finance seekers are turning to the Northwest Business Angel Network to access business funding, it is important we are able to engage and increase the number of investors or Angels looking to invest between £10,000 and £500,000.

“Investing in a growing company can be hugely rewarding, by offering expert guidance and support, best practice advice and a means to turn potential opportunities into tangible success.”

“These events are proof of the region’s entrepreneurial and creative talents, that when steered in the right direction, can lead to strong and successful business ventures, boosting the fragile regional economy.”

Recent triumphs include Online Consumer Legal Service – itsmyclaim.com, who after securing £80,000 in April, also successfully secured a further tranche to continue to scale their innovative service that allows users to administer their own claim for compensation for Personal Injury.

The service looks to disrupt the No Win No Fee industry and tackles the disproportionate legal costs often imposed on consumer-facing organisations, which has recently been highlighted by Lord Young the appointed Health and Safety adviser to David Cameron.  

Mark Brickles CEO of itsmyclaim.com commented:

“The introduction to angel investors through the Northwest Business Angels Network allowed me to not only secure funding to enable the business to scale but also provided the business with expertise and mentoring from people  who had already become successful in their own right. The combination of investment and guidance has been invaluable.”

John Hinnigan, the lead Angel Investor in itsmyclaim.com said:

“Itsmyclaim.com presented a compelling investment case combined with a strong ethical consumer element which appealed to our investment syndicate.”

Also successful were PrepOnline Ltd, a social enterprise looking for £90,000 to support the development of an e-learning business to sell courses to nurses via the Internet.

Dave Dawes at PrepOnline said:

"PrepOnline is looking to change the business model for e-learning and we needed the investment to help scale the business. The NWDA provided really helpful support and advice about structuring the presentation and business offer. Our presentation attracted six potential investors and after a robust due diligence process, one of these ended up becoming our angel investor and a director on the board.  His financial support and business advice has helped the business tremendously and we are grateful to the NWDA for bringing us together."

For further information, or to register visit www.nwbusinessangels.co.uk or call 01925 400 509.

For more information on business support visit www.businesslink.gov.uk/northwest