Science and technology businesses across Norfolk and Suffolk will have the potential to find angel backers after a Norwich Research Park (NRP) initiative has widened it reach.

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Venta, which helps match innovative businesses with investors, will now operate across the New Anglia local enterprise partnership area. Following the success of two investor events at the NRP, an investor day is now planned at the Hethel Engineering Centre in November and Venta is looking for both business propositions and potential angels.

John Irving, Venta chief executive, said: “Venta is successfully providing investment opportunities for business angels and early stage companies throughout the region. The investor days held earlier this year at the Norwich Research Park highlighted how there are business angels in the region, who are looking to invest, and early stage companies who need their investment. The Venta initiative has received huge levels of support and encouragement throughout the business, political and financial communities and will enable our wealth generating companies of tomorrow to stay in the area without having to look elsewhere for investment and management skills.”

More than 100 current and potential business angels have seen presentations from 12 investment opportunities at Venta investor days so far.

Chris Starkie, programme director of the New Anglia LEP, welcomed the widening of the Venta remit.

He said: “This is just what new and fledging businesses in the region require. Similar initiatives in other regions of the UK have been extremely successful in generating new and wealth creating businesses in their areas and we’re positive that Venta will do the same for New Anglia.”

Simon Coward, director at the Hethel Engineering Centre, said: “Access to early stage funding and management expertise is critical for our current and potential engineering based companies to thrive. “Anything that we can do to source both crucial resources from the local business angel community has to be beneficial, not only for the companies and individuals concerned, but also for the region as a whole.”

Kevin Horne, chief executive of NWES, the organisation that advises and helps start up businesses in the East of England by offering advice, training and premises, said: “We welcome this initiative, which fills a gap in business funding in the region. Many of our tenants will be interested in presenting to business angels and I’m often asked by established successful businesses in the area to identify new rapid growth business opportunities. The timing couldn’t be better.”

George Freeman, MP for Mid-Norfolk, added: “Money alone won’t turn science into valuable products, services and fast growth businesses. That requires early stage investors who have done it before and know how to start and grow successful small businesses. So-called ‘Angel’ investors bring investment and business expertise to new companies, and science and research parks need a community of them.”

The next Venta Investor Day takes place at Hethel Engineering Centre on Tuesday, November 20 from 10am. For more information email info@venta.uk.com.

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