‘Business angels’ light the way for companies ; Entrepreneurs are putting themselves and their good ideas to the test with Dragon’s Den-style groups in hope of winning over investors
WITH the banks still in crisis and proposed Government funding cuts threatening to slash the ability of Invest NI to support businesses, entrepreneurs are having to look further afield for support with new ventures.
Luckily, business help is at hand in a new form of an increasingly common type of lender, the business angel.
Taking a leaf from the book of shows like Dragon’s Den, groups of business people and potential investors come together to hear pitches from small companies and decide whether or not they are ‘in’.
One such heavenly venture is Halo, described as Northern Ireland’s “business angel network”, a joint initiative of Invest Northern Ireland and InterTradeIreland based at the Northern Ireland Science Park.
The aim is to match the right entrepreneurs with the right investors, who plough their money into the new company in exchange for shares. Normally 40 to 50 companies apply to attend each Halo event, whittled down to 12 and then a final shortlist of between five and seven who come along to pitch their ideas.