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Dev-Bank Wales MBO
18 June 2024

Equity Funding is the Fire Power for Business Growth


GUEST COLUMN:

Jill Jones
Director
Women Angels of Wales

The recently published Wales SME access to finance report by the British Business Bank and Economic Intelligence Wales clearly shows that it is larger SMEs which are accessing external finance to fund growth.

This includes overdrafts, credit cards and debt finance – but these can become very expensive, very quickly.

The take-up of equity investment is still surprisingly low in Wales given that this is a form of patient capital and there are plenty of public funds in Wales to support growth. Both the British Business Bank and the Development Bank of Wales have equity funds available for businesses looking to start-up and scale-up including the £8 million Wales Angel Co-Investment Fund from the Development Bank.

As a women-led business angel investment syndicate, Women Angels of Wales is working in close partnership with the British Business Bank, the Development Bank of Wales and the wider business angel community in Wales to increase the flow of funds in Wales and help raise awareness of the benefits of equity funding.

Equity funding is most suitable for high-growth businesses that need cash to speed up their growth plans, or early-stage technology businesses that cannot support loan repayments whilst their business develops. Often referred to as patient capital, equity investment is a longer partnership than a loan. The main advantage is that a business owner does not have to make monthly repayments and therefore all the investment raised can be used  to expedite growth.

Choosing the right long-term investment partner means that businesses also benefit from valuable skills, contacts and experience. The relationship is based on so much more than just capital; supportive investors add value to the management team because they have a vested interest in the business' success – its growth, profitability and increase in value.

With statistics showing that one in five business owners experienced barriers to accessing finance and that funding needs vary across Wales, we need to do more to make equity funding more accessible and more attractive. It’s about joining the dots to create an ecosystem that supports long-term growth and financial stability while promoting equity funding so that entrepreneurs and business owners in all corners of the country understand how it can give them the fire power and support to accelerate growth.

  • Established to help support women in the early-stage investment community in Wales, Women Angels of Wales is jointly supported by the British Business Bank and the Development Bank of Wales. The syndicate has access to co-investment of up to £250,000 for each deal from the Development Bank’s £8 million Wales Angel Co-Investment Fund. Further information is available at www.womenangelsofwales.com

As a Director of Women Angels of Wales, Jill Jones is a lead investor. She has a background in optometry and property. She is an experienced business angel investor and passionate supporter of women in entrepreneurship. She has recently completed a PhD on gender and angel investing.



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