The organisation is working to finalise its first investment in a Scottish female-led growth company, and its mission is in response to research by its partner organisation Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES), which shows that access to finance remains the top barrier for women starting and scaling their businesses.It flagged research showing that women start their businesses with 53 per cent less capital than men do, ask for 30 per cent less funding, and consequently “are often hugely under-capitalised from the outset”, with only 14 per cent of all capital raised going to women-led businesses.
Mint Ventures, which is being supported by Linc Scotland (the national association for business angels north of the Border), the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA), Royal Bank of Scotland, and Scottish business angel group Par Equity, also said fewer than 15 per cent of the UK’s business angels are female.
Gillian Fleming, chief executive of Mint Ventures, who is a veteran start-up adviser and investor, and one of the UKBAA’s top 20 women business angels in 2021, said: “For too long, women have been under-represented and under-funded when it comes to early-stage equity investment. We are on a mission to change that through our educational program to support more women to become angel investors and invest in diverse companies with purpose.”
Mint Ventures’ top team also includes directors Carolyn Currie and Lynne Cadenhead, the chief executive and chair respectively at WES.
The female-led business angel group says that working closely with the wider angel community in Scotland, it will provide a “comprehensive” educational, development and networking programme for its women members, allowing them to train for six months to qualify before they make their first investment.
The 20 founding women members of the group will focus their investments in the critical £50,000 to £250,000 funding gap, investing in under-represented sectors including creative industries, retail, and food and drink, which it says are often of more interest to women.
Mint Ventures also states that all companies will need to demonstrate a social, ethical or environmental purpose and have clear environmental, social, and governance goals.
Additionally, Ms Fleming stressed: “You don’t have to be super-wealthy to be an angel investor – our minimum investment ticket size per person is £2,000. We are looking forward to having more members joining our monthly networking and leadership events – and to helping more women fulfil their economic potential.”
Paul Atkinson, partner and founder of Par Equity, said: “We recognise that in Scotland we have too few women angel investors and are pleased to partner with Mint Ventures as they build their membership. If we want to help women realise their economic potential, we have to challenge the conscious and unconscious biases which result in women-owned businesses not getting access to the business funding they need.”
Jenny Tooth, chief executive of the UKBAA, cheered the launch of “this exciting new Women Angel Investment syndicate facilitating more women to bring their financial capacity and experience to back female founders... it’s good to see the approach that Mint Ventures is taking to provide educational resources and mentoring support to new women angels”.