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16th March 2016, 12:06pm
New investor group to pair ‘business angels’ with exciting Lincolnshire enterprises
ULIG launch event (Credit: Phil Crow) A new business initiative which will help promising companies find the financial backing they need to innovate and grow by pairing them with experienced investors has been launched in Lincoln.

Lincolnshire is a hot spot for start-ups, new business ideas and entrepreneurs, and the University of Lincoln Investor Group (ULIG) is a new pilot project which will help them find funding to develop and grow. The Group aims to pair early-stage companies with ‘business angels’ who can provide both financial backing and valuable business advice.

The ULIG pilot was launched at the Think Tank on Monday 7th March 2016 supported by Streets Chartered Accountants and Minerva, the Midlands-based business angel network.

The launch event was opened by Andrew Stevenson, Director of Research and Enterprise at the University of Lincoln, who explained his hopes for the Group as a stimulus to the development and growth of new local enterprises.

Andrew said: “The University is delighted to be partnering with Streets Chartered Accountants, Minerva and CONNECT to launch the University of Lincoln Investor Group. This builds on from the success of the Lincolnshire Investment Network (in partnership with Lincolnshire County Council), in helping our regions’ businesses secure critical growth investment from investors. Here at the University, we share the growth and innovation ambitions of our region and are determined to play a central role in supporting them.”

ULIG is based on a successful model established by Minerva Business Angels, which operates out of the University of Warwick Science Park and runs in Coventry, Malvern, Gloucester and Loughborough. Since 2010, Minerva members have invested £7m and levered in an additional £22m into 53 start-ups and early stage companies.

Tim Powell, Director of Minerva Business Angels Network, said: “With our experience of establishing investor groups like ULIG around the Midlands, assisting pre-selected companies to pitch to investors, we hope that over the trial period of the next few months we can attract the professional community and potential investors to come along and find out what being a Business Angel is all about.”

At the ULIG’s first meeting, representatives from local technology company Frunbu Ltd. and agri-tech enterprise Ubigutek Ltd presented their proposals and highlighted opportunities for investment.

The next ULIG event will be held on Thursday 21st April 2016 in the University of Lincoln’s Enterprise Building, where three more companies will pitch their ideas for growth.

James Pinchbeck, Marketing Partner at Streets Chartered Accountants, said: “In comparison to many other areas, the concept of investment and the market for it within the county of Lincolnshire is still relatively new. The challenge the local business community faces is in matching those looking for funding with potential investors, and this is where the University of Lincoln Investor Group comes in.

“Through the ULIG we hope to promote exciting new opportunities for the region’s investors and its early-stage businesses. The Group gives the county access to a new investor forum and ensures that private equity funding is more readily accessible for those looking to develop their venture. We are certainly seeing a growing number of businesses, particularly in the technology and digital sectors, with commercially exciting projects. The funding we hope to source through ULIG will no doubt play an important role in helping them to realise their potential.”

Early-stage businesses and potential investors are invited to register their interest in joining the Group, with places still available for the next event on Thursday 21st April. More information will be available on the Streets Chartered Accountants website.

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