Connecting Regional Enterprises with Regional Angel Investors

Sixty-one Caribbean Micro, Small, and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and Business Support Organisations (BSOs) should now be in a position to attract much needed financing from regional angel investors.  The Caribbean Export Development Agency in collaboration with infoDev (a World Bank Multi Donor programme), as part of its initiative to increase access to non traditional forms of financing for regional entrepreneurs and MSMEs, hosted a series of training seminars recently in the region on “Angel Investor Engagement for Entrepreneurs.”

Securing investment from an angel investor can come with a different set of challenges, from what a firm might face when looking to secure a bank loan. This could be because an angel investor is an individual who invests his or her own cash, generally in exchange for equity in the company or convertible debt, with the objective of realising a capital return in the foreseeable future.  Unlike a traditional financial institution an Angel is likely to become involved in the organisation through mentorship and the use of his expertise and contacts for the company’s advancement. In view of this the workshop led by Project Director for the Caribbean Business Angel Advisory Programme, Mr. Nelson Gray set out to define a typical Angel and what they are looking for in potential investments.

Gray formerly acted as the fund manager for Scotland’s leading business angel syndicate, Archangel, formed in 1992 and as Special Projects Director of LINC Scotland, he acts as a mentor to new investment groups developing tools and procedures to further best practices in Angel investing.  Having personally invested in over 35 companies Gray is well versed to share with participants the tools needed to attract investors; and create a viable pipeline of qualified and well prepared entrepreneurs to apply to Angel Investors throughout the region.

Within the Caribbean there are currently three Angel Groups, which are basically a collection of individual Angel Investors who come together under a common brand with defined rules of membership and conduct to collectively identify, review, select and evaluate Angel investments.  It is hoped that following the workshop the regions entrepreneurs are sensitised on how to make themselves attractive for angel investment.

The training took place in Barbados, Jamaica and Saint Lucia, with the 61 participants coming from Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, Belize, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the OECS countries.  Caribbean Export will continue to host the Angel Investing Engagement Workshops over the next two years.