Northwest Business Angel network sees 200% year-on-year annual growth

The Northwest Business Angels (NWBA), part of the [ilink url=””][/ilink] , connects growing companies seeking investment with investors who are actively looking for investment opportunities of between £20k and £500k. Since Northwest Business Angels was established in 1993, in excess of £22m has been raised, by over 250 companies.

The unusual growth in numbers of new investors is attributed to a number of factors including the poor returns available to investors on more traditional, ‘safer’ investments or savings plans; the generous tax reliefs that are granted to angel investors and the diversity of the businesses now working with the NWBA to seek investment.

NWBA Manager Steven Wall said: “This quite remarkable rise in new Angels coming forward to invest in growing businesses is fantastic news for the Northwest.  Investors today just aren’t able to get a decent return on their money via the more conventional savings routes so many are looking to invest in businesses who just need that extra revenue injection to really help them to expand.

The concept of being an Angel has also become a more widely recognised one recently, with programmes like Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice drawing in huge audiences.

“We’ve been working closely with the banks, accountants and other partners and have a constantly evolving and growing pool of investment ready businesses for the Angels to choose from. A few years ago, the tech boom meant that we had a lot of IT businesses but that’s not for everyone and our new selection processes means that we now have a far more diverse range of really exciting companies to present to the Angels.”

A Business Angel from Greater Manchester who has been investing in companies for several years and wanted to remain anonymous said: “When I retired I didn’t want to just disappear from the world of business altogether. Being a Business Angel gives me the opportunity to help another local business to grow and create jobs for the future and to make a far better return on my money than I can get from most investments. The range of businesses I’m seeing coming forward for Angel investment in 2013 is wider than it has ever been, as companies increasingly look beyond the bank for finance.”

One of the NWBA’s recent success stories is [ilink url=””]The Big Green Energy Company[/ilink] in Bury, an installer of PV Solar Systems.

The company was seeking £150k of investment to enable them to expand the business further by financing the initial stages of the Green Deal, the world’s first government flagship project for reducing carbon emissions, which allows efficiency savings from customer’s upgrading of heating systems and solar power to be offset against their utility bills and for the cost of the upgrades to be paid for via the house’s energy bills.

MD Michael Orr said: “We’ve been working in the renewable energy market since 2010 and have seen our sales grow from 33k to over £1m in that time. As a result we are now ideally placed to really expand the business and create jobs and needed a critical injection of £150k to achieve that.  The NWBA team was able to help us prepare our business for investment and to introduce us to business angels and we are now in the process of agreeing terms with an investor who will be able to help us to market and drive our business offer forward.”