A DRIVE is under way to encourage more women to become “angel investors”.

Jenny Tooth, chief executive of the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA), joined Dorset Business Angels for a webinar called The A-Z of Angel Investing.

She said an angel investor was someone investing their own capital and making their own decisions, taking shares in return for equity but also providing support and advice.

The business ‘angels’ bringing wealthy investors and entrepreneurs together

“A lot of men and women investing nowadays do alongside their day jobs. It’s not just something to do in retirement. It’s not always about the money that is being invested, it’s about the value added and seeing what you can do to help and make a difference to the business,” she said.

“Angel investing can be fun, exciting and sociable. I would always recommend doing it with others and joining a syndicate, never invest alone. There is a level of altruism in that very often it’s the opportunity to make a real difference to your local economy and the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Start-ups missing out from lack of women investors

“Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint – it can take between 8 – 12 years to get a return and a business success. Build a portfolio of investments and make sure it’s mixed. Don’t put all your investments in to one particular niche or field.

“Your investment does not need to be huge, with opportunities starting at around £5,000. Start small and build and grow.”

Asked what an investor should look out for in a business, she said: “The people in a business make all the difference. Do they have the necessary commitment, the passion and drive? Is the business scalable, does it have the right business model to be able to build and grow? How innovative or disruptive is it in its niche? How far will your money help it to stand out?”

She was joined by seasoned angel investor Bridget Connell, whose corporate career included stints with logistics giant DHL and phone operator Telefonica.

She recalled how she found her first deal. “I went to a few different investment syndicates to get a sense of what they were like and how it worked. I eventually settled on one that made me feel very comfortable and I liked the people involved. I learned that angel investing is a team sport,” she said.

“I also did some courses, I read and I attended different pitch events. I wanted to understand, learn and explore before engaging with angel investing. It was certainly an education. I would suggest sitting through due diligence in your syndicate, look and learn, hold your nerve and remember, you don’t always have to invest.”

Dorset Business Angels chairman Don McQueen said: “We are thrilled at the success of our event. We had over 40 people attend and the feedback we have received has been excellent.

“We are really hoping to improve and encourage more women on to the investment scene, younger investors too. Videos of the event are available to view online and we would urge anyone interested in angel investing to take a look.”

Dorset Business Angels’ next pitch event is on June 14. Details are at dorsetbusinessangels.co.uk