A new initiative to support Business Angels looking to invest in the North East has been launched at FinanceCamp, the region’s annual investment conference, today (Wednesday 22 May).
The Newcastle Angel Hub will form part of the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) wider Hub network across the country, and will be delivered by the Innovation SuperNetwork, in partnership with Invest Newcastle.
In this first phase of development, the partnership is consulting with angel investors about the infrastructure of support needed to enable them to engage with more innovative regional businesses.
Jenny Campbell, investor, entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den Panel member, who spoke at FinanceCamp, said: “Today I’ve heard some really inspirational stories about North East businesses who have succeeded in securing equity investment. The journey is not an easy one, and to be based in a region where an established angel community has taken hold, certainly improves an entrepreneur’s chances of success. The launch of the Newcastle Angel Hub will go a significant way towards ensuring this happens more in the North East and I will look with interest at how this continues to develop in the coming weeks and months.”
Simon Green, CEO at the Innovation SuperNetwork, who also deliver FinanceCamp, said: “FinanceCamp is just one Access to Finance initiative delivered by us to support the funding needs of regional businesses. The event has successfully matched hundreds of businesses at all stages of growth with investors, lenders and grant providers. This has gone some way towards de-risking investment in innovative companies and increasing investor confidence, locally. But we’ve recognised for many years that more work is needed to aid the development of an Angel Investor community here in the North East.
“We’re pleased to be able to add to the UKBAA network with the Newcastle Angel Hub. This is the first stage in an ongoing piece of work to develop a regional support infrastructure to establish an engaged and networked Business Angel community in the North East.”
The announcement follows news last month, that the North East BIC (in partnership with the SuperNetwork, North Invest and the UKBAA), has been awarded £1m in grant funding from Innovate UK to deliver one of three Regional Angel Investment Pilots (AIP). The programme is designed to accelerate early stage Angel investment in innovative companies across the North.
The Newcastle Angel Hub will be one way in which the AIP will seek to facilitate new investment opportunities for investors looking to work with innovative regional companies. Once established, it will go on to provide the environment for Angels to engage with local companies alongside information and support to those considering Angel investment for the first time.
Jenny Tooth, OBE, CEO at UKBAA, said “As the UK trade body for business angel and early stage investing, we’re delighted to be involved in delivering the regional AIP in the North. We are also especially delighted to be partnering with Innovation SuperNetwork and Invest Newcastle to establish the Newcastle Angel Hub. The Hub is the latest addition to a series of hub locations that we have set up across the country, where we work with key partners to offer a new focal point to connect and grow the early stage investor community. The Hub network seeks to support local scale-ups and start-ups by increasing access to risk capital and building investor capacity UK-wide.”
Jen Hartley, Director at Invest Newcastle, said: “The focus of all our activity is economic growth. A strong Angel investor community plays an important role in ensuring we continue to attract national and global companies to base themselves here. The establishment of the Newcastle Angel Hub is an important step towards enhancing the opportunity for growing businesses based locally to attract investment. It also helps put Newcastle on the map as a UK destination for angel investors.”
The first Angel investor consultation event will take place following FinanceCamp on the 22 May, where 25 active Angels will come together to discuss the collective challenges faced by investors looking to engage with Innovative regional businesses.
A full programme of events will be launched in the coming weeks, with more details about the Newcastle Angel Hub set to be revealed soon. Angel investors wishing to share their views on how the Newcastle Angel Hub could develop, should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Regional Angel Investment Pilot, visit www.SuperNetwork.org.uk