A new Angel Investor Programme launching in the South West is set to play a pivotal role in driving economic growth.

The initiative is aimed at identifying, educating, and supporting new individual investors, fostering a diverse and thriving investment community to drive innovation and help address funding challenges for tech businesses in the region. 

The innovative programme, set to operate until March 2024, has been forged through a collaborative venture between Tech South West, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Hub, Heart of the South West Growth Hub, Dorset Growth Hub, North Devon Council, Torridge Council, Cornwall LEP, Dorset LEP, Heart of the South West LEP, and the British Business Bank. 

Through a unique combination of community-building, capacity-building, and ecosystem mobilisation, the programme aims to recruit 40 new angel investors for the region, with a particular focus on fostering diversity. 

This is expected to generate £2.8 million of angel investment annually, ultimately resulting in a total funding boost of £9m and helping to continue the growth of the South West tech sector.

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“Collaborating with local LEPs, growth hubs, and councils, the Angel Investor Programme reflects our collective vision to establish a self-sustaining ecosystem of investors and drive change in the Great South West region,” said Ben Cooper, funding and finance director at Tech South West.

“The recent South West Intelligence Report from the British Business Bank underlines the challenges we face, highlighting fragmentation and underinvestment in our angel investment landscape. 

“With only 5% of UK angel investment finding its way to our region, primarily in Bristol, and limited awareness among potential investors, persistent funding disparities, especially for diverse and female founders, have persisted.

“This initiative is our response to these obstacles, aiming to empower individuals, form new angel groups, support startups, and lay the foundation for an enduring legacy of innovation. 

“Our goal is to cultivate a diverse community that thrives well beyond the project’s conclusion, stimulating economic growth, generating high-tech jobs, and nurturing our rapidly expanding tech ecosystem.”

The programme will operate with key team members including a ‘Super Connector’ and an ‘Angel Lead’ and will target professional services firms, private banks, wealth managers, and Chamber of Commerce memberships, along with engaging second home communities. 

Working closely with local incubators, accelerators, science parks, universities, clusters, and other key players in the tech ecosystem, the scheme aims to identify investment opportunities and connect with the newly formed angel community.

Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, said: “The Angel Investor Programme promises to be a game-changer in our region’s economic growth, helping to address local funding challenges. 

“We’re delighted to be supporting Tech South West to empower a diverse community of investors, fostering innovation, driving economic growth, and nurturing our expanding tech ecosystem for the long term.”

The initiative also intends to establish four new Angel Groups, spanning Dorset, Cornwall, and the Heart of the South West LEP areas, with one group dedicated to women investors, and support 68 individuals in becoming investor-ready through the UKBAA’s online Angel Education Programme. 

The programme will also provide 50 founders and startups with valuable access to the angel community, facilitating growth and collaboration.

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