Entrepreneurs look to business ‘angels’ for investment

Ambitious entrepreneurs in the UK are increasingly looking to the Isle of Man for business ‘angels’ who are seeking to not only invest in fledgling companies but to play key advisory and guidance roles.

“I think the Isle of Man has a wealth of high quality investors who can add value to new businesses based on their own experience, it’s not just about writing a cheque,” said London-based entrepreneur Patrick Ashworth.

He was speaking after attending an Entrepreneur Event in Douglas hosted by Siliconiom Ltd with sponsorship coming from specialist data centre provider Continent 8 Technologies and leading accountants and tax advisors PwC.

Since their inception two years ago over 150 entrepreneurs have attended the 18 Events which have taken place and around one-third have been successful in gaining their required funding, the average figure in the region of £250,000.

Mr Ashworth, an entrepreneur for 15 years who has previously launched two successful companies, is now looking for investment in a third company which he has founded. He was one of seven entrepreneurs who, in ‘Dragons’ Den’ style, pitched to potential investors at the Event, each giving a six-minute presentation in a bid to gain equity backing for their respective ventures.

He added: “A highly successful event, it was my first visit to the Isle of Man but I plan to be back as it is now high up on the list as to where we could possibly locate, grow and develop the business. I liked the feel, the culture and was impressed by what we heard from the Government in terms of the opportunities here.

“It is all important that a new business finds the right investors and the Isle of Man has a significant number of successful businessmen and entrepreneurs who can bring both finance and business expertise to promising new businesses.”

Chris Hall, a potential investor at the event, has played a major role in establishing the Isle of Man as an e-business centre.  He has built up a portfolio of non-executive directorships and ‘angel’ investments and is currently looking at investment opportunities in the technology software areas.

“What has impressed me is the high calibre of the entrepreneurs who have come to the Island, coupled with the broad range of businesses and different backgrounds,” said Mr Hall,

He added: “Future events will be a key contributor to supporting the growth of the Island’s technology sectors.”

Entrepreneur and event organiser Steve Hawkins said an increasing number of entrepreneurs were becoming aware that the Island offers a unique opportunity to start-up and early stage businesses.

“The latest event again attracted an eclectic mix of companies, bringing diversity in terms of both the business proposition and global presence,” he said.

Continent 8 account director Roberta Castle said: “We are delighted to be a sponsor of these extremely successful events. Over the past two years they have proved to be a catalyst in a number of start-up companies looking to move to the Island. Each event is a tremendous showcase for the Island and feedback from this one is already very positive.”

Ian Clague, senior partner at PwC said: “The results from these events make impressive reading and a number of entrepreneurs who only came here looking for investment were so impressed with the Island’s can-do approach, commercially aware government and sophisticated business infrastructure that they are now looking to relocate their business here.”

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