Business angels help to 'bridge' the way

By By Duncan Foulkes [email protected] Twitter: @iomexambiz in Business

Entrepreneurial spirit has been celebrated at an event held at Government House.

The Lieutenant Governor and Bridge, the Isle of Man’s angel investor network and business accelerator, hosted the top-level private networking event.

The evening gathering was organised with the aim of bringing together those individuals and companies that Bridge has worked with since its formation in May 2016.

His Excellency Sir Richard Gozney and Bridge board members and sponsors, KPMG, Appleby and Continent 8, welcomed nearly 100 investors, entrepreneurs and senior members of the business community.

The invited guests represented a broad cross section of sectors and industries with approximately a third travelling to the island from the UK and further afield to attend the event.

Many of these guests are currently in the process of re-locating their businesses to the island.

Steve Langkamp, Bridge entrepreneur and CEO/co-founder of Scout4, a tech-enabled construction labour marketplace, shared his experience of setting up in the Isle of Man and working with Bridge. Steve secured funding at a Bridge networking event in September from local business angel and former Manx Telecom CEO Chris Hall.

While Steve has previously had successful ventures in the UK Scout4 has now become a Manx company and will be headquartered on the island.

Bridge has met with over 60 start-ups and entrepreneurs since opening its door nine months ago.

Some 54 per cent of these have received free mentoring and assistance from Bridge’s sponsors and team of volunteer mentors.

This mentoring assists companies to become ’investor-ready’ and develop their business models, enhancing the chance of success.

The opportunities, when ready, are then shared with the near 70 Bridge registered investors.

Of those start-ups introduced to the Bridge network, 20 per cent have received local investment funding.

This figure is significantly higher than seen in the UK where the success rate is approximately 1 per cent of opportunities. A total of 75 per cent of start-ups have either approached Bridge directly following online and social media campaigns or been introduced via Bridge’s sponsors, who use their contacts and the strength of their international footprint to attract businesses to the island.

Tech and e-business start-ups have been the most popular to date representing 42 per cent of Bridge ’clients’, followed by BioMed at 12 per cent.

Bridge chairman, Simon Nicholas of KPMG, said: ’Government House is such a fantastic venue to host this event and we would like to thank His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor Sir Richard Gozney and his team for their generous hospitality.

’We are thrilled to have been able to host this fantastic evening in such an iconic Manx building.

’The success of Bridge to date as well as the turnout and energy in the room, all point to the enthusiasm and genuine interest in making the Isle of Man home to high growth businesses’.

The Lieutenant Governor said: ’I am keen to support Isle of Man businesses.

So I was glad to host Bridge, bringing together entrepreneurs and potential investors in perhaps the first speed dating event at Government House’.

Bridge supports Isle of Man start-ups and high-growth businesses by bridging the gaps between entrepreneurial talent and the crucial support start-ups need in order to reach their full potential and thrive. It is a not-for-profit organisation.

To find out more about Bridge visit www.bridge.co.im.

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