29 April 2011

Right Funds 4U Hull 13 April 2011

Having a bright idea is one thing. Taking it to market is quite another. In most cases a road to market requires money and unless you are rich you have to seek it from someone else.

For many would-be tycoons, this is an insuperable obstacle largely because they do not understand basic concepts such as the difference between lending and investment or long term assets and working capital.

This is why the Connect Yorkshire seminar "Right Funds 4U" which took place at the Hull Office of Rollits LLP on 13 April 2011 was so useful. Four speakers:
  • Paul Forth of NatWest Bank
  • Barrie Hensby from Finance Yorkshire
  • Steve McEwen from Beer & Partners, and
  • Andy Jewitt from Sadofskys
spoke about bank lending, venture capital, angel investment and grant funding respectively. Also present were Susanne Gilbert from YABA and Alan Clegg from Business Link Yorkshire.

Paul Forth started by asserting that banks are still in the business of lending, In his presentation he introduced the audience to the difference between debt and equity. He then outlined the sources of finance such as friends and family, business angels, private equity, the stock market and commercial banks. He talked about leasing and asset finance, factoring and invoice discounting and the enterprise guarantee scheme. He then discussed what financiers are looking for namely management and staff, products and services, markets and marketing and vision and strategy. He also flagged up what financiers are particularly wary of such as forecasts based on published as opposed to primary research and wildly optimistic sales figures. Finally, he told us what makes his bank stand out from the crowd.

For my money, the most interesting speaker was Barrie Hensby, one of the investment
direcctors of Finance Yorkshire. Finance Yorkshire offers a variety of financial products: seed corn, loans and equity. Barrie outlined those services and Finance Yorkshire's portfolio. He then introduced the audience to the concept of venture capital and how to get it. He explained what a suitable
investment would look like and gave us a couple of case studies. You can call Barrie on 01226 323737 or email him on barrieh@finance-yorkshire.com.

Barrie was followed by Steve McEwan of Beer & Partners and he was very entertaining. He made us hold hands for no particular reason and then asked us to raise our hands if we wanted to make loadsamoney. But there was a lot of substance in his talk. He explained what was me ant by angel finance, who business angels are, what they want, where to find them and how to attract them. Finally, Steve introduced Andrew Wilson, the network's regional development for Yorkshire.

The last speaker was Andy Jewitt and he had the most difficult slot partly because it was about grant funding which is in short supply but also because it stood in the way of the refreshments. Strangely enough, Andy omitted to mention J4B which is a great database of grant funding.

Connect Yorkshire, which is a not-for-profit company that helps businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber get the funding that they need, has advertised another Right Funds 4U event in Knaresborough on 21 June 2011. Also worth exploring is The Investment Readiness Bootcamp in Sheffield on 19 and 26 May 2011. According to my mate, Steve Knowles, who teaches the course, its real value lies in the the tips on business plan writing and coaching in pitching to investors.

Finally, those who didn't attend the session can find an introduction to funding, an overview and info on grants, loans, community development finance institutions, angel funding and private equity funding on my Inventors Club website. Anyone who wants to discuss any of these topics further should call me on 0800 862 0055 or through our contact form.