Twenty-five alumni from Business Gateway Edinburgh’s Gateway to Investment (GTI) programme reconnected with potential investors and mentors this week.
The graduates of the scheme, which aims to provide business owners with the tools, information, and confidence needed to secure a fair investment, took the opportunity to provide an update on their investment journey at the breakfast event.
John Robertson of Drinkly.co.uk, a technology platform that allows customers to order beers, wines, and spirits to their door within one hour, was one attendee at the gathering in Edinburgh City Chambers.
He said: “GTI is a hugely practical programme that also provides access to Angel syndicates that businesses may never have been able to get in front of before. It would have taken me months to get pitch ready but thanks to the programme I quickly understood what needed to be said and how.”
For Hassan Peymani of Volcano City, specialists in live streaming and multi-language streaming video production, getting onto the GIT programme highlighted the need to be a story teller.
He said: “It really made me think about how I wanted the business to be seen and the importance of the message. We’re now working to ensure we get our story across clearly and concisely which will help us grow our market share.”
Originally named Road to Investment, the five day programme was launched in 2011 then re-branded Gateway to Investment (GTI) four years later. Since then nearly 70 businesses, which have been supported by Business Gateway Edinburgh, have graduated from the scheme.
Working with the likes of Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Investment Bank, the course covers legal issues, seed funding, innovation, licensing and intellectual property. Business owners are then given the opportunity to take part in mock pitches to one of five Angel investment groups who support the programme, using the feedback given to perfect their presentations.
Business Gateway Edinburgh’s four growth advisers are responsible for selecting up to 10 enterprises who are either planning for or are near the investment stage to take part in each round of the programme, which runs up to three times a year.
John Hughes, Growth Adviser, Business Gateway Edinburgh, said: “The programme was borne out of need. We were seeing good people with great business ideas fall down when pitching for investment and we realised it was because they weren’t talking the language of equity and they didn’t know how to answer the hard questions Angels were asking. We devised the programme to prepare business owners better and give them the confidence they needed to stand in front of potential investors whose backing could ultimately help their businesses take off.”
For business Angel Kathy Kinder of TriCapital (Tweed Renaissance Investors Capital) the GTI programme helps both business owners and investors get the right deal.
She said: “GTI allows potential investors to meet businesses we might otherwise never have heard of. It also gives us, as a group, an idea of what businesses are out there and lets us see what is on the horizon.”
While Michiel Smith from Apollo Informal Investments, a syndicate that was set up on the back of the successful pilot for the programme, believes GTI is “a valuable source of investment opportunities”.
He added: “It also helps the entrepreneur understand the investment process better which makes the investment conversation a lot smoother.”