Jenny Tooth on the importance of building further UK investment capacity outside the golden triangle and utilising the untapped potential of female investors

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UK Business Angels Association

03 October 2019

With a new Boris deal now on the table for consideration by Brussels as an apparent “take it or we leave it” ultimatum, we await next steps. Meanwhile, our investment community remain in a state of uncertainty about how to ensure the future growth and success of the small businesses that they have backed.

During these times, it will be essential that we continue to build strong links across the investment community to ensure that businesses can access the investment they need to build and grow. We have been fortunate over the past seven years in having the strong support of Tim Hames, Director General at BVCA, who has helped us to build effective connections between the Angel and VC markets. I should like to take this opportunity to thank Tim as he moves on from BVCA for his support to UKBAA’s work and we look forward to working with Michael Moore the new DG of BVCA in building a connected value chain for entrepreneurial finance as we address the challenges that lie before us.

A key aspect of the joint work between UKBAA and BVCA has been our mutual focus on building more investment capacity to address the needs of the many innovating businesses across our regions. It was particularly interesting to read Beauhurst’s latest 2019 report on the growth of UK Unicorns (young private companies that have achieved a $1bn valuation). The report revealed that of the 21 UK Unicorns (16 active and 5 exited), only 5 of these businesses are based outside the London-Cambridge-Oxford Golden Triangle. We know that the level of patient capital needed to build these Unicorns through their growth stages is lacking across many of our regions and we will be working to unlock these pools of capital over the coming period.

One of these key untapped pools of investment across the UK regions remains women business angels. This will be a core focus of our Northern Women Angel Investment Forum being held in Manchester on 23rd October when we will be hearing from women who are already investing about the opportunities and barriers that they have encountered and will be debating what more can be done to attract more women with financial capacity and business experience to invest in entrepreneurs in the UK regions.

Finally, in the face of this continuing political and economic turmoil, we all need to ensure that angel investing continues to be recognised by the Government as the most significant sources of investment for small business growth across the UK. We need to present strong evidence and robust data of the impact of angel investment and so I do hope that you will support our online survey of angel investors being organised by UKBAA with British Business Bank, carried out by PwC research. Please take 15 minutes of your time to complete the online survey as an investor or pass the link on to angel investors in your contact base. https://www.pwcresearch.com/uc/angelsurveyregsite/?a=88549

Meanwhile you can see some of our recent media coverage of the angel market here:

•    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/why-it-pays-to-become-a-local-investor-gdgk0h9mx

•    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/business/meet-women-breaking-investment-gender-gap-supporting-women/

•    https://www.forbes.com/sites/joyburnford/2019/09/30/missed-opportunities-where-are-the-women-investors/#136140703988

•    https://www.forbes.com/sites/joyburnford/2019/09/30/what-we-can-learn-from-a-confident-female-investor/#24e177667107

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