Business angel network signs deal to boost growth firms

Business angel association Linc Scotland has struck a partnership deal with accountancy firm Chiene + Tait aimed at boosting investment into high-growth companies.

Chiene + Tait's Neil Norman said the Linc Scotland deal will boost angel investment. Picture: Contributed

Under the agreement, the Edinburgh-based firm will service a dedicated helpline providing advice to Scottish angel syndicates on how they can best structure any potential investments and maximise tax reliefs.

The move comes after an initial helpline trial run by the practice over the past 12 months where staff assisted Linc’s members on issues including pre-deal structuring as well as advice on Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).

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Chiene + Tait entrepreneurial partner Neil Norman said the helpline will aim to “de-mystify” the process of becoming a business angel by promoting the tax advantages that come through such investments.

He said encouraging more high net worth individuals to invest in SMEs with strong growth potential will bring wider economic benefits for Scotland.

“This is a positive development which has real scope to benefit the growth of Scottish SMEs and help entrepreneurs punch above their weight by encouraging more activity within the business angel investment community,” said Norman.

In the initial trial of the helpline, the practice was contacted by more than 50 per cent of Scottish-based angel syndicates.

“This support vehicle is helpful to business angels and is also beneficial in encouraging more investment into Scotland’s SMEs,” added Norman.

David Grahame, executive director of Linc Scotland, said: “The helpline has provided a valuable resource for our membership and we are delighted to have Chiene + Tait’s support in extending the service in the longer term.

“The firm has been extremely supportive towards our members over last year’s trial and their on-going involvement will help enhance the work of our current members and help promote both the financial and economic benefits of angel investing.”

Linc Scotland has a membership network of hundreds of investors including individuals and syndicates. Latest annual figures showed investment through members of the Linc network reached record levels in 2015.

Some 75 high potential companies received 98 rounds of finance, comprising more than £30 million of private risk capital, together with a further £14m of funding from public sector sources. The figure was a 14 per cent increase over the previous highest tally in 2011. Total investment over the past ten years is around £350m.

Recent business angel investments in Scotland include a funding deal for Glasgow-based entrepreneur Rebecca Pick, who has developed a personal attack alarm. It features a wearable monitored alarm which uses smartphone technology to provide the police with information on a user’s exact location.

The funding deal was led by angel syndicate Equity Gap and other backers included the Scottish Investment Bank and Gabriel Investment Syndicate.