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Intelligent Partnership and UKBAA Launch First Accredited Angel Investing Qualification



Intelligent Partnership today announced that it is teaming up with the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) to launch the Angel Investing Accreditation – the new official qualification to promote effective investments in Britain’s small businesses.

With the numbers of angels in the UK set to grow, it’s vital that new angels can access the education and resources they need to invest with confidence. Without the appropriate skills and knowledge, enthusiastic but inexperienced investors may run the risk of losing their money. For these reasons, Intelligent Partnership and the UKBAA are launching an e-learning angel investing qualification.

Intelligent Partnership is the UK’s leading provider of education and insights on alternative investments and produce award winning annual industry reports for the EIS, VCT and Crowdfunding sectors, as well as providing IFAs with training on investing in small, unquoted companies.

They are now taking that offering online, where it can be accessed by a much broader audience and will be aimed at angel investors, both current and prospective.

The course will be accredited by the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI), and SFEDI, the standards-setting body for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and comprise three levels:

  • Introduction to Angel Investing – a 45 minute short online course aimed at anyone who is interested in knowing more about angel investing;
  • UKBAA Angel Investing Qualification – a new Level 5 Diploma qualification recognised by Ofqual, the registered quality standards agency.
  • UKBAA Accredited Angel Investor – individuals who have made investments in small businesses and can demonstrate their knowledge and experience will be able to be validated as a UKBAA Accredited Angel Investor.

There is an assessment at the end of each level, and ongoing criteria need to be met to retain the accreditation.

Angels who achieve the qualification will have been through course content covering all of the important elements of angel investing, including sourcing opportunities, putting together deals, due diligence and tax planning. The content is being developed by Intelligent Partnership in conjunction with the UKBAA and current successful angel investors. Course participants will also be given access to the latest research and resources on angel investing, and put in contact with existing angel networks.

Angels who achieve the Accredited Angel Investor qualification will be investors who already have experience of successfully investing in early stage companies, and will be qualified to play the role lead angel in a deal, or to head up an angel network or syndicate.

Guy Tolhurst, MD of Intelligent Partnership said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with the UKBAA on this initiative. We know from our work training financial advisers in this area that once people acquire the skills and experience they need, they invest with much more confidence. The Angel Investing Accreditation gives everybody the chance to get themselves to that level, safe in the knowledge that they are learning from independent experts.”

Angel Investment fulfils a vital role in the economy by supporting entrepreneurs and remains the most significant source of equity for early stage businesses.  It is estimated that £850m per annum is invested by angels annually in the UK, more than 2.5x the amount of Venture Capital invested in early stage small businesses annually.

George Osborne acknowledged the importance of investment in early stage companies in the budget and announced measures extending entrepreneur’s relief to further encourage the growth of Angel Investment.

Under the new rules, business angels and other investors will no longer have to hold a minimum of 5 per cent of a business to qualify for entrepreneurs’ relief; nor will they have to be an employee or director of the company. Entrepreneurs’ relief of 10 per cent will be available on gains from newly issued shares from unlisted companies (but including those on the Alternative Investment Market) on or after March 17th 2016 and held for a minimum of three years from April 6th this year.

These new incentives, combined with the suge interest in online equity crowdfunding (which grew 295% from £84 million raised in 2014 to £332 million in 2015), and the popularity of tax-advantaged venture capital schemes such as the EIS (£1.5bn raised in 2013/14 and £12.3bn raised since the scheme’s inception in 1993), mean that the numbers of people making Business Angel investments are set to grow from the estimated 18,000 angel investors that already exist.

The UK does not have a compulsory accreditation requirement, unlike the US where Angel Investors are now required to be accredited and must prove that they have sufficient income or assets in order to make investments in small businesses. Up to now there has been no formal means to verify that an individual has the ability and competence to make investment decisions. Under the FCA, individual private investors in the UK must prove that they are high net worth or sophisticated, but this is a self-certification process. At the same time we have a light touch process for crowdfunding which requires self-certification and a short test of understanding of the risks.

Julia Groves, Chair of UK Crowdfunding Association said: “Early stage investment is becoming more diverse than ever as Angel-led crowdfunding opens up access for entrepreneurs to a wider range of funders. And we all know there is much more to backing than money: these investors can also bring the skills, experience and networks to UK entrepreneurs to help them succeed.”

“Having opened up the market to this next generation of investors, we now need to provide them with the tools and education to assess both the opportunities and the risks. This is another excellent initiative from the UKBAA and I expect several of the equity crowdfunders to be amongst the first to sign up.”

Jenny Tooth OBE, CEO of UKBAA, said: “As the trade body we are uniquely placed to establish these new quality standards for angel investing, bringing new confidence into the market at a time when so many individuals are attracted to back small businesses. Accessible online this will enable new and less experienced investors across the UK, to gain recognised skills, leveraging the experience and insights of seasoned investors for a more informed approach to backing growth stage businesses. We will also be able to accredit quality training being delivered by our investor members around the regions.”

Michael Blakey, serial tech investor and UK Angel Investor of the year 2015-16, said: “Having been investing for many years, I know that it takes some time to acquire the knowledge and skills to choose which businesses to back and achieve a successful portfolio of investments. The new UKBAA Angel Investing Accreditation offers the opportunity for new investors to access this experience and get more quickly up to speed, whilst recognising those investors in the market who have the skills and competence to make good decisions” .

Simon Calver, ex CEO of LoveFilm, partner at BGF Ventures and chair of UKBAA, said: “It is vital that we have a strong and effective Ecosystem to support angel and early stage investment across the UK. The new UK Angel Investor Accreditation will underpin this by building the capability and capacity of the investment community across the UK to fulfil their key role in supporting the growth and scale up of UK businesses”.

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Green Weddings Trend: Why 70% of Newlyweds Are Going Green



A couple of months ago, my best friend got married to her new husband. They are both very eco-conscious people, so they decided to have a unique twist on their wedding. They asked for the following:

  • They arranged a carpool with their friends.
  • They didn’t have any balloons. Instead they used umbrellas.
  • They used plant materials instead of plastic confetti.
  • My friend insisted her husband not purchase a diamond. In addition to being ecologically conscious, she didn’t like the idea of having a stone that was used in conflict zones.

My friends aren’t the only ones making these changes. In fact, nearly a quarter of all newlyweds are organizing green weddings.

Green Weddings Are Becoming the Norm

People are more concerned about green living than ever before. They are trying to incorporate environmental protectionist ideas into every facet of their lives, even the most intimate, such as marriage. A growing number of people are trying to have green weddings, which can make a big difference in reducing their carbon footprint.

How much of a difference can this make? Here are some statistics to bear in mind:

There are a number ofreasons that green weddings are becoming more important. Here are a few.

People Are More Worried About Environmental Preservation than Ever Before

Green living in general is becoming a greater concern for most people. Even younger conservatives are breaking from their older counterparts by insisting on fighting climate change. According to a poll from Pew Research earlier this year, 75% of Americans say that they are very concerned about protecting the environment. Having green weddings is a good way to act on this concern.

One of the biggest changes people are making is using recycled products for their green weddings. This is explained by the research from Pew:

“Overall, 32% of U.S. adults say they are bothered a lot by people throwing away things that could be recycled. Roughly six-in-ten Americans (61%) who say they always try to live in ways that protect the environment say it bothers them “a lot” when others throw away things that could be recycled. Among those who are less focused on environmental protection, only a quarter say it bothers them a lot when others don’t recycle. People who are environmentally conscious are also twice as likely as others to say that seeing someone incorrectly putting trash in recycling bins bothers them a lot (42% vs. 21%).”

Indifferent Politicians Are Driving them to Take More Initiative

Many politicians in power have been very hesitant to take action on climate change. Many of them have openly stated that it is a hoax. These politicians are forcing people to do what they can in their own lives to make a difference. Making small changes, such as hosting green weddings, is a great way to improve the environment without waiting for political momentum.

Cost and Simplicity

A couple of the biggest reasons that people want to host green weddings have nothing to do with their concern for the environment. Running green weddings is simply cheaper and simpler than having a massive, traditional one. One of the biggest changes is that they are buying green engagement rings from the best brands.

Green Weddings Are the Future

Green weddings have become very popular over the past few years. They will probably account for close to 90% of all marriages by 2025. People that are planning to get married should look into the benefits and plan accordingly.

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Green Tech Start-Ups: Are they the Future?



Endless innovations are occurring in green companies, reinventing the industries they belong to. Gradually, they are beginning to amass more success and popularity. Consequently, these factors serve as a good indicator for green technology businesses, and their development must begin somewhere.

Green tech start-ups boast a wide array of opportunities for the economy and environment, while boosting recruitment openings with valuable services. While the technology industry is littered with high revenues and competition, the green tech start-ups are the clear sign of a cleaner future.

Fulfilling a Genuine Need

Many tech companies will market themselves as the ultimate tech giants to shift stock and make profit. As they all vie for attention through warped corporate rhetoric, there is only one ethical winner; the start-up green tech company.

Some argue that mainstream tech businesses have grown far too big, branching out into other industries and standing between the consumer and practically everything they do. However, green tech start-ups go beyond the shallow ambitions of a company, answering a call to sincerely help the customer and climate in any way they can. Of course, this is an attractive business model, putting customers at ease as they contribute to a humanitarian cause that is genuine through and through.

After all, empathy is a striking trait to have in business, and green tech start-ups maintain this composure by their very nature and purpose.

Creating Opportunities

Despite the pursuits for clean energy still needing more awareness, green tech is an area that is ripe for contribution and expansion. There’s no need to copy another company or be a business of cheap knockoffs; green tech start-ups can add a new voice to the economy by being fresh, fearless and entrepreneurial.

Technology is at its most useful when it breaks new ground, an awe that eco-friendly innovations have by default in their operations. Of course, green tech start-ups have the chance to build on this foundation and create harmony instead of climate crisis. Ultimately, the tech advancements are what revolutionise clean energy as more than an activist niche, putting theory into practice.

Despite the US gradually becoming more disengaged with green technology, others such as China and Canada recognise the potential in green technology for creating jobs and growth in their respective economies. The slack of others spurs them on, which creates a constant influx of prospects for the green tech sector. Put simply, their services are always required, able to thrive from country to country.

A Fundamental Foresight

Mainstream technology can seem repetitive and dull, tinkering with what has come before rather than turning tech on its head. Since 2011, technology has been accused of stagnation, something which the internet and petty app services seem to disguise in short reaching ideas of creativity.

However, green tech start-ups aren’t just winging it, and operate with a roadmap of climate change in the years ahead to strategize accordingly. In other words, they aren’t simply looking to make a quick profit by sticking to a trend, but have the long-term future in mind. Consequently, the green tech start-up will be there from the very start, building up from the foundational level to only grow as more and more people inevitably go green.

They can additionally forecast their finances too, with the ability to access online platforms despite the differing levels of experience, keeping them in the loop. Consequently, with an eye for the future, green tech startups are the ones who will eventually usher in the new era.

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