The news is so dominated right now by stories of company down turns, closings, and potential redundancies, I wonder if reporters are actually tasked with sourcing out the most depressing news items possible.
The reality is that some of these companies would fail anyway, others may have been waiting justify reducing staffing numbers, and some companies have truly been hit hard.
The real tragedy is that many management teams have been so frightened that they are holding off on all growth plans and not coming forward for funding because the press has convinced them no money can be accessed. The fact is that there is money out there, it just requires a more creative approach to find it!
Right now, no one can count on generating funding from a single source. All funders have tightened their risk profile, thus securing money is more difficult. Going to the local high street bank with cap in hand is unlikely to be successful, but by presenting a case with other funding sources committed mitigates the risk to all funders.
At the beginning of this year we were asked to seek private equity for HiBar, a self-erecting flood barrier. This was the brainchild of a gentleman living in Herefordshire – something he had been working on for four years.
He had a “desk top” working model but needed finance to produce a working prototype and then working capital to achieve sales. The initial need was for cash to fund a seed operation, not a going concern. In July we managed to package together funding of £52,000 equity from Business Angels, and a £28,000 Advantage West Midlands R&D grant. Since then we have arranged a £15,000 grant from MAS and have indicated that an application for a loan from the Impetus Marches Reinvestment Society would be the next step. This is an example of the work that is required to put together funding that is still dependent upon the quality of the opportunity.
The initial investment by the Business Angels provided the credence the company needed to gain the confidence of the money market. The total package took us over 6 months to complete.
The bottom line is that CEBA Business Angels are actively seeking investment opportunities right now which could be the corner stone for a full finance package so necessary for growth.