Finance to oil the wheels of innovation

Finance to oil the wheels of innovation


Most tenants in the St John’s Innovation Centre learn quickly how to make slim resources go a long way. This applies particularly to funding. Yet innovation requires ongoing investment which is hard to get in the current market. In recognition of this, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills recently launched a consultation focused on ‘Financing a Private Sector Recovery’. One to watch?

Setting this aside, raising finance for business has always been a challenge but, as with all things, knowledge is power.  That is to say, the better your understanding of the options and your target funders, the better your chances of getting what you need.

We meet a huge range of entrepreneurs – particularly through the ‘Understanding Finance for Business’ (uf4b) programme.  Some are in the start-up game and others are looking to build established businesses.  They come with varying expectations but they all need money.  Or at least they think they do.

Our role is to acquaint them with the options and, if appropriate, help them to raise the funding they need, be it a grant, a bank loan or perhaps equity funding.  In some cases, the entrepreneurs are not fully exploiting the opportunity for growing their business on the back of sales.  We help them to see and act on this opportunity.   Otherwise, through a combination of workshops and mentoring, we provide advice and support.

At one of the recent ‘Understanding Finance for Business’ pitch sessions, a number of the companies caught the eye of the angels round the table.  Witnessing that connection between the committed entrepreneur, who has sweated blood and tears over his or her idea for months, and the investor is great.  It’s what uf4b is all about and what drives most of the team at St John’s.  Connections, advice and money for good ideas.

If this strikes a chord with you, there’ll be lots more posts in the coming months.  In the meantime, tell us what you’d like to hear about and we’ll make sure we cover it in a future post.