Warm welcome for Minerva Nottingham as new investment collaboration launches

Nottingham business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors have welcomed the launch of a new angel investment network for the region created to improve the investment culture in the Midlands.

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From left to right: Michael Carr - Executive Dean Enterprise, Professor Nigel Wright - Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation Nottingham Trent University, Professor Lucy Donaldson - Associate Pro Vice Chancellor and serial academic entrepreneur University of Nottingham, Alex Toft – Head of Minerva University of Warwick Science Park Ltd., Susan Huxtable Director of Intellectual Property Management and Commercialisation, Financial & Business Services Nottingham University and Andrew Naylor CEO, Nottingham Technology Ventures Ltd.

Nottingham business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors have welcomed the launch of a new angel investment network for the region created to improve the investment culture in the Midlands.

Minerva Nottingham, a new collaboration between the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University and Minerva Business Angels, part of the University of Warwick Science Park, has now held its inaugural pitching event at NTU.

The new group aims to raise the profile of opportunities both for growth companies and potential investors in Nottingham and the wider D2N2 LEP area,and to close the gap  in investment between the Midlands and the South East - of  £1.9bn invested through the Enterprise Investment Scheme in 2018, less than 2% was invested in the East Midlands versus around 70% in the South East & London; the majority going to London based companies.

The launch event was formally opened by Professor Nigel Wright, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation at Nottingham Trent University and Professor Lucy Donaldson, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor, at the University of Nottingham. It was attended by more than 70 delegates.

Speaking  at the launch, Professor Wright highlighted the importance of innovative finance initiatives in supporting our local entrepreneurs.

He  said: “We are so pleased with the reception of the Minerva Nottingham initiative by the business and financial communities as reflected by the attendance here tonight. Enterprise sits at the centre of the University and reaches out to engage with the business community and supports our student and academic enterprises.  

“Our Enterprise Innovation Centre, currently under construction, is an integral part of our Enterprise plan to encourage investment and growth of entrepreneurism.  Minerva Nottingham will sit at the heart of this strategy helping to deliver investment. We are pleased to have University of Nottingham along alongside us on this journey which has an unenviable reputation in innovation.”

Professor Lucy Donaldson said: “University of Nottingham has a long history of entrepreneurism and innovation and is ranked 2nd in the UK for its spin-out success with companies generating over £150mn in turnover.  The companies I have been involved would never have succeeded if we didn’t get the initial investment and the critical act of faith from angel investors.

“It allowed us to grow and raise further funding. Angels are amazingly important assets, and I am glad to both support and be part of this Minerva Nottingham initiative.”

Liz McKenzie, an angel investor and Vice-Chair of the West Midlands Growth Company, spoke about her positive experience of being an investor and urged others to follow suit.

She said: “Being able to work as a collective with like-minded individuals from a broad church of experience who are all successful in their own right is great; it’s both effective and enjoyable.  The way their connectivity assists growing companies is genuinely impressive. We need more Angels to come on board.”

Alex Toft, Head of Minerva, added: “This event is a great step in establishing a local network, which can link in with our other groups across the Midlands, Northwest and London.  Through this connectivity and growing collective, we hope to offer a stronger support network and access to finance for all the businesses calling on us for support.  

“We are keen to unlock that latent capacity of expertise, contacts and capital that remains untapped in our region which entrepreneurs would relish to access. Experience and expertise are just as valuable as financial support.”

All three companies who pitched at the launch, Footfalls and Heartbeats, Coginitive Business and YPP Group received expressions of interest and look forward to working with that interest.

Minerva Nottingham plans regular events including embarking on a programme to provide training for those interested in becoming an Angel investor. Its next investment event will be in January 2020 and anybody interested in becoming an investor should get in touch via support@minera.uk.net.  Companies seeking investment should apply through the Minerva website, at www.minerva.uk.net

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    About Nottingham Trent University

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) was named University of the Year 2019 in the Guardian University Awards. The award was based on performance and improvement in the Guardian University Guide, retention of students from low-participation areas and attainment of BME students. NTU was also the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2017, and The Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2018. These awards recognise NTU for its high levels of student satisfaction, its quality of teaching, its engagement with employers, and its overall student experience. The university has been rated Gold in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework – the highest ranking available.

    It is one of the largest UK universities. With nearly 32,000 students and more than 4,000 staff located across four campuses, the University contributes £900m to the UK economy every year. With an international student population of more than 3,000 from around 100 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook. The university is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable NTU to be a vehicle for social mobility.

    NTU is among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. A total of 82% of its graduates go on to graduate entry employment or graduate entry education or training within six months of leaving. Student satisfaction is high: NTU achieved an 87% satisfaction score in the 2019 National Student Survey.

    NTU is also one of the UK’s most environmentally friendly universities, containing some of the sector’s most inspiring and efficient award-winning buildings.

    It is home to world-class research, and won The Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2015 – the highest national honour for a UK university. It recognised the University’s pioneering projects to improve weapons and explosives detection in luggage; enable safer production of powdered infant formula; and combat food fraud.

Warm welcome for Minerva Nottingham as new investment collaboration launches

Published on 31 October 2019
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