bdaily goes behind the scenes of IP Group with Investment Manager Ian Wilson
IP Group plc are managers of the Finance for Business North East Technology Fund. Investment Manager Ian Wilson is a chartered accountant and corporate finance professional, and leads on transactions for the Fund. He has a background in mergers and acquisitions.
What key challenges has your company faced over the past 12 months?
Our challenges are consistent with other businesses, we have experienced the same harsh economic conditions as everyone else. Above all else, that affects confidence. However, it is important that in the face of a lack of general confidence in the economy, this Fund (the Finance for Business North East Technology Fund) continues to provide robust assessments of the opportunities that are presented and supports good quality businesses.
What is your biggest achievement over the past 12 months?
In the past 12 months, the Fund has increased its investment rate significantly and has supported numerous businesses across a broad range of technology sectors and across all parts of the region. We have both safeguarded and created valuable jobs in the region.
What is your biggest focus for the coming year?
The focus of the Fund remains the same as the previous year – to continue to support good quality management teams, both in existing portfolio companies and in new investments.
What one piece of advice could you offer someone starting-up a business or seeking investment?
The Scout movement motto “Be Prepared” applies. Entrepreneurs should always spend significant time preparing their plan before approaching an investor. They should have extensive knowledge of their product/service, the competitive landscape and other relevant factors. They should also be aware of their strengths and not be afraid to admit where the business will need help. Above all, clear leadership and strategy should underpin everything else.
What is your view of the current business landscape, both in the North-East and generally?
The regional economy has proved fairly robust over the last few difficult years and there is definitely a sense of confidence slowly returning. The region has obvious qualities in the digital sector, as well as renewable energy and chemicals and materials. What is obvious is that the UK has been over reliant on financial services and must reduce this exposure by growing other sectors. However, to prosper in the long-term, the economy must invest in fostering a knowledge-based culture. Businesses which have good intellectual property will underpin the future success of the UK and this region has a big part to play. Funds like this one are important as we need to support businesses in their infancy in order to get them started on the road to growth and future success.
For more information on the Finance for Business North East Technology Fund, please visit: www.thenortheasttechnologyfund.com. Finance for Business has been made possible by a collaboration between the European Investment Bank (EIB) http://www.eib.org/, European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and regional development agency One North East (ONE). The EIB has provided funding of £62.5m with ERDF and ONE supplying the remaining £62m.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ian Wilson.