Getting Funding for Your Small Business, London: Case Studies
If you've got the idea and the burning desire to set up your own business, but don't have the cash to support the entrepreneurial spirit, you might be looking for a potential source of funding. One programme that delivers early-stage private investment to young London-based businesses is called Gateway to Investment - g2i - and has proved to be a successful investment readiness programme.
g2i isn't just a source of funding - the programme includes a business model review, workshops, a written pitch and personally managed investor introductions, and the programme is open to any London-based company which is looking for investment of between £100,000 and £3million.
What Does The Programme Provide?It provides start up companies with knowledge, advice, tools and resources which will help them to understand their businesses from an investor's perspective and also works to connect businesses to the right investor. g2i gives investment advice and practical help with the help of a consortium of six private sector specialists;
- Grant Thornton
- The Innovatory and
- Library House.
Case StudiesAfter securing £750,000 investment via the g2i investment readiness programme, GP Dr Vincent Forte invented a urine collection device especially for women, an invention which means faster diagnosis and treatment, gives women greater dignity and saves around £2 per patient for the NHS. The device is now selling into the NHS and Private sector, agents are also generating sales in Europe, South East Asia and the Middle East. The company also has plans to take the product into the USA, Australia and Eastern Europe.
The Sampler, an innovative independent wine retailer, has raised almost £1million of funding so that it can open more branches across London, after the its first shop in Islington was a great success. Customers can try their wine before they buy it, using an Enomatic sampling machine that gives out small sips of up to 80 different wines, from everyday favourites through to first growth clarets.
How Do I Get Involved?The first part of working with g2i involves an invitation to an introductory seminar. These seminars usually run from 9.30am to 12.30pm and give small businesses and entrepreneurs the opportunity to find out about:
- The state of the Investment Market;
- What type of investment is popular;
Stage 2 of the journey is what's called the Business Model Review. This takes a few hours and will involve you meeting with two members of the g2i consortium. It's a chance for g2i to find out what your business goals are, get to know your team, find out what stage your product is at in development, and generally get to know a bit more about you.
You'll will receive feedback from the consortium members, a written report and an action plan. The report and action plan are sent around a week after the meeting.
If your company takes part in an Investment Readiness Workshop you'll be invited to spend four days (over a period of three weeks) learning from investors. You'll find out about the financials, Intellectual Property, Legals, and the Route to Market. At the end of the workshop you'll also have the opportunity to practice your pitching skills to a roomful of investors - who will give you valuable feedback on the business opportunity, and their opinions on the pitch itself.
Stage 4 is an intensive mentoring stage - businesses get two and a half days mentoring focused on any of the issues identified during the workshop phase, and you'll work on the production of an 'opportunity note' - your elevator pitch converted into two pages of text and graphics.
The final stage of the programme is Investor Introductions. Different businesses will be matched to suitable investors in ways and introduced.
Keeping London Working - Advice on Business and Investmentg2i also produces a guide on getting investment for your business, which contains up-to-date information relevant to business owners looking for advice on to helping a company survive the recession, as well as advice individuals worried about their jobs or even looking for a new career.
The booklet gives lots of useful information about how to access initiatives like the Manufacturing Advisory Service, which has been created to assist small and medium sized manufactures compete more effectively, plus details about the Access to Finance and Gateway to Investment programmes.
These programmes are complemented by a new £3m Economic Recovery Loan Fund, introduced to help small businesses raise finance.