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The group keen to invest in Dorset

PUBLISHED: 15:50 08 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:51 08 May 2017

Dorset Business Angels: Peter Eales, Jeremy Mills, Frank Guinn, Michael Melim,  James Paget and  Don McQueen

Dorset Business Angels: Peter Eales, Jeremy Mills, Frank Guinn, Michael Melim, James Paget and Don McQueen

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Dorset Business Angels are keen to invest in Dorset, as Kate Shaw reveals its time for local businesses with great ideas to get pitching

Dorset Business Angels (DBA) was formed in 2013 with the aim of being a catalyst in Dorset to bring together entrepreneurs and investors to help accelerate the growth of start-up businesses. Their vision is to turn Dorset into one of the UK’s best regions for setting up high growth and start-up businesses by providing quality private equity investment opportunities to local high net worth and sophisticated investors. DBA is an official representative body of the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) network.

To date, over 90 companies have pitched to DBA and over £1m has been raised with investments varying in size from £10,000 - £150,000. A number of businesses have gone on to successfully complete their funding rounds with other networks such as venture capitalist, banks and other funding providers. The DBA network prides itself on its diverse mix of Angels, many of whom have made their fortunes as successful entrepreneurs and are now looking to help support and invest in upcoming young talent.

Four times a year companies are invited to attend an event at which they pitch their business to the savvy Angels in a Dragon’s Den type scenario. Angel investment might come from a single investor or it could be two or three Angels pooling funds together to support a company. Any investments are in the form of an equity investment and not a debtor’s loan. Investments are made across all sectors.

Bournemouth-based DBA investor and Chairman, Don McQueen, built his telecoms technology company up from the early 2000’s, merged with another company, GCI Com in 2005. He sold the business in 2011. He has been involved in the Angels organisation since its inception. “The network is a marriage of individuals who have money to invest and businesses who want money,” explains Don. “We get very few pitches from talent in the region and much of our investment has subsequently been leaving the county. We are keen to keep our investment within Dorset and the close surrounding areas, such as Southampton and the Isle of Wight, wherever possible.”

Another Angel Investor is entrepreneur Frank Guinn, former owner of Bright Tech Developments. “Angel involvement doesn’t stop once the investment has been made as most Angels like to keep in touch with the new addition to their portfolio. It is not uncommon for the Angels to request either ‘Board Observer’ status or an NED position, which can serve the interests of both parties. For the Angels, it means that there is a regular, reliable feedback to the members on the Company’s performance and for the Company, there is usually someone they can call upon for specific help or guidance should the occasion arise.”

Go pitch!

Dorset Business Angels are particularly interested in supporting local businesses. If you are prepared to offer a portion of your equity in return for a capital injection, visit dorsetbusinessangels.co.uk and submit your Business Plan. DBA work on a not for profit basis, 5% of the funds raised by a successful pitching company is reinvested back in DBA to cover operating costs.

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