The North is brimming with opportunity for active national investors looking for fresh prospects and innovative new projects

By Estelle Blanks

Estelle is Executive Director of the Innovation SuperNetwork, who’s work to support business growth by embedding innovative practice includes delivering access to finance events, including Entrepreneurs of the North and FinanceCamp.

According to research by Beauhurst, UK businesses saw the highest levels of investment on record in 2017. Despite this, investment levels across the North East and Yorkshire fell dramatically (34% and 10% respectively). The data also shows that public sector backed investment fell across the country. But whilst other regions, including the North West – or Manchester specifically, compensated with private investment, this didn’t happen in Yorkshire or the North East.  

Yet, in another piece of research conducted by the British Business Bank and the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA), a ‘difficulty identifying good investment opportunities’ was highlighted as a bigger concern for angels located in London and the South East than those based regionally.

In the North East we recognise that the challenge in bringing businesses and investors together is a two-way street. Equally North East businesses feel they have less opportunity to engage with national investors and we try to tackle this problem through tailored initiatives to bring investors and Northern businesses together.

Next week, our annual FinanceCamp conference will take place in Sunderland (22nd May, Stadium of Light). Attracting around 100 innovative businesses, the event carefully matches enterprise with the right investors, lenders and grant providers.

Our biggest access to finance event of the year, this is a key opportunity for Angel investors, venture capital funds and crowd funding platforms to come face to face with ambitious North East businesses from all sectors and at all stages of growth. We work closely with businesses to ensure they’re investment ready before the event and get to know both our businesses and attending investors to ensure the opportunity is maximised for both parties with carefully matched one-to-one meetings.

Last month we also announced that in partnership with the North East BIC, North Invest and UKBAA, we’ve been awarded a £1m grant 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 wider North.   

The pilot encourages investment in innovative early stage companies by increasing the pool of regional angel investors prepared to consider investing in earlier stage, ambitious, businesses in the regions. As well as identifying suitable investment opportunities, it will provide grants to businesses to deliver innovation projects with a view to longer term business angel involvement and future commercial success. 

These are just two opportunities delivered throughout the year, alongside fast-paced London-based pitching event, Entrepreneurs of the North, and FinanceCamp at VentureFest in both the North East and Tees Valley.

If you’re interested in any of our investor opportunities, then get in touch with the team via hello@supernetwork.org.uk

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