Universities to team up with new business angel network

University of Nottingham's Trent Building
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Nottingham’s two universities are joining forces to back a new business angel network.

The universities are partnering with Minerva Business Angels to increase network of entrepreneurs willing to back regional start-ups.

Minerva Business Angels, part of the University of Warwick Science Park, is linking up with Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham in a partnership aimed at improving access to finance for local companies.

Minerva wants to work with the universities because both have a track record of identifying research and ideas that have commercial potential.

Official figures show that £1.8bn is pumped into promising firms every year through the government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme.

But only two per cent of this funding has supported East Midlands businesses.

Minerva Business Angels wants to attract successful entrepreneurs to the new Nottingham network of ‘business angels with insight.’

Dr Susan Huxtable, director of intellectual property management and commercialisation at the University of Nottingham, says increasing the amount of support available to promising start-ups is critical to the regional economy’s future.

She added: “The University of Nottingham already provides a substantial portfolio of support services for business and entrepreneurship, and we’re delighted to work with Minerva to extend that offer in a way which could help a new generation of promising businesses to innovate, scale-up and grow by introducing them to business angels.

“There is a real appetite for innovation and growth across the East Midlands. With Nottingham Trent University and Minerva, we want to demonstrate to successful entrepreneurs that there are substantial opportunities for successful investment in this region.”

Mike Carr, executive dean for enterprise at Nottingham Trent University, said: “We are delighted to join forces with the University of Nottingham and Minerva to bring this initiative to Nottingham and the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership area.

“This will support our plans to further enhance our enterprise agenda. These include the building of a new Enterprise Innovation Centre and further investment in the support we give to our students, academics and external business in order to commercialise their ideas and intellectual property.”

Alex Toft

Alex Toft, who heads Minerva, added: “Minerva is leading the way in connecting universities, business angels and entrepreneurs to grow an access to finance ecosystem for the benefit of our local SMEs.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Nottingham’s two innovative and successful universities in order to bring together entrepreneurs seeking support with investors looking for hands-on investment opportunities.”

Minerva Nottingham is expected to be officially launched at an event at Nottingham Trent University in October.