An Angel At Your Table

By Women Mean Business
Thursday, 27th March 2014

It’s a world of confusing acronyms, mysterious terminology and there’s more than a hint of Dragon’s Den about it, but the finance process for entrepreneurs has got an added dimension with the growth of business angels on the Irish scene.

A business angel is an investor, much like the dragons, who will provide funding and mentoring for a growing company in return for some equity in the business. They often come in syndicates, spreading the risk, focus on specific sectors and areas, and the numbers engaging in this type of transaction are growing all the time.

HBAN, the Halo Business Angel Network, is a joint initiative of InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland, delivered in partnership with the Irish Business Innovation Centres, and Halo Northern Ireland. In 2011 HBAN helped 29 companies raise €12m, which it says will lead to the creation of 344 jobs by the end of 2014.

WMB spoke to HBAN’s programme manager Orlagh Nolan about how to get an angel at your boardroom table. Nolan, who holds an MBA from Smurfit, is enthusiastic about the scheme HBAN operates, and is keen to get more women involved, both on the investor and the entrepreneur side of the deal.

“It is male dominated. And in industries like IT, where there is an opportunity to scale quickly, you find more men, because women tend to be more industry-orientated, doing things like artisan food that you can do on the side while raising a family.”

However, she points out that there is a growing emphasis on female entrepreneurs, evidenced by initiatives like the DCU Ryan Academy’s Female Propellor Programme for High Fliers and CIT’s PINC Programme, that should see more women entrepreneurs reaching the stage where they can access support from the likes of HBAN.

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