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Scottish Entrepreneurial Academy; Money – that’s what I want!

The second workshop for members of the Scottish Entrepreneurial Academy (SEA) took place on the 10th of May in Edinburgh. Attendees were joined by a variety of speakers who looked at topics such as Making Your Company Attractive to Investors, How to Run a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign and How to Build Relationships with Potential Investors. SIE Business Advisor, Dawn Shand, rounds up what they learned below.

The focus of the last SEA workshop was on building value in your business.  We chose the title carefully with some thought as to what we hoped to get from the day.  Basically those businesses which are successful in the early days through bootstrapping, funding from family and friends and perhaps some grant or competition funding too, can find it really hard to leap the next hurdle into private investor funding.  It’s not about feeling that you ought to be given investment because you have worked so hard but rather thinking about what you can do to make yourself attractive to investors.

Only one in 10 pitches to business angels are successful so how do you ensure that you are the one?

  • The ability to pitch confidently and succinctly was a recurring topic
  • Having the right management team on board is important too e.g. the right technical expertise but also someone who can open doors for you
  • Engaging with customers at an early stage and using this information to demonstrate a desire in the marketplace is another good point
  • Interestingly investors don’t always need to know how your product or process it works.  They just want reassurance that it is a good bet for them to get a return on their investment
  • Having one or two sales under your belt is a surefire way to get the interest of investors
  • Look for the business angels who have already invested in a similar sector to the one you are in

…and if you want to read more, Jonathan Harris from Young Company Finance, suggests reading Angels, Dragons and Vultures by Simon Acland.