The following artlicle about HBAN's Food Syndicate appeared in the December Edition of Business Plus Magazine. Click here to see the article.
Nice to see that Michael Carey, who turned a few bob with Jacob Fruitfield, is now backing entrepreneurs who want to follow in his footsteps. Carey and his wife Alison Cowzer run The Company of Food, an angel investment vehicle that is linked with the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN), an umbrella group that works with the Business Innovation Centres to match investors with early stage businesses. "In the food sector, there's a lot of support at the moment from Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia, but very little from the banks," says Cowzer. "Angel investors can really add value in terms of expertise. There are a lot of small food companies in Ireland Alison Cowzer heads up HBAN's Food Syndicate and then a few large companies. Our goal is to help create medium-sized food businesses that are scalable and have an export focus." HBAN's Food Syndicate recently invested around €200,000 in Elivar, which makes powder supplements for sports people, and the angel investment prised other funding from Enterprise Ireland. "Sound business ideas can be risky if the team behind the firm are not strong enough," says Cowzer. "To decide whether the risk profile is right, we look at the individuals, the idea and the opportunity. When the balance is right, the company is worth investing in." HBAN brokered investments of €9m in total in 2012, and the 2013 outcome is likely to exceed that level, says national director Michael Culligan. 'All the companies we put in front of investor syndicates are prescreened," says Culligan. "An angel investor is not someone who simply wants to attend a board meeting once a month, though neither do they want to play an executive role. Everyone comes into this to make money, and there are probably easier ways to do so. But the majority of people in our syndicates also want to share their experience in business."