ENTREPRENEURS and small-business owners based at coworking space network Indycube are being offered access to a half-million-pound annual funding stream and expert advice.
Newly-established Indycube Ventures will see Angel Investor David Hulston work in partnership with Indycube CIC (Community Interest Company) to offer businesses that have the potential to expand the support they need.
Indycube CIC was set up by Mark Hooper at the Media Centre, Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff, in 2010. The office space was established to give homeworkers or sole traders access to professional business premises so that they didn’t have to run their companies from their back bedroom or in coffee shops.
The concept has been such a success that there are now five Indycube sites – three in Cardiff and one each in Newport and Swansea – with plans to establish up to 20 similar facilities across Wales.
Now, having seen the difficulties that some companies that use Indycube – many of which now employ up to five people – have faced in accessing funding and business advice, David has joined with Indycube CIC to establish Indycube Ventures to provide financial and practical support to either existing or new Indycube CIC associates.
Through Indycube Ventures, the associates will have access to the targeted ‘Develop And Grow’ programme, which will offer management expertise, mentoring and support from industry-specific specialists who can provide guidance on how a business can expand.
After completing this programme, Indycube Ventures will hold quarterly ‘Boot Camps’ – which will involve two days of intense preparation to make businesses ‘investment ready’ and allow them to pitch to potential investors.
The funding for qualifying businesses will be provided by Indycube CIC, which invests any surplus it creates for the benefit of its associates, and by David and his network of business angels.
David is a seasoned Angel Investor, experienced non-executive director, mentor and technology strategy consultant. His investments are mostly in early-stage technology companies, mostly business-to-business software, but stretch to film production, games and food production.
Some of the Welsh companies he has backed include Cwmbran-based Comparison Creator – which builds comparison websites for companies such as Moneysupermarket, comparethemarket.com, IPC Media and WH Smith – Swansea-based Inngot, the world’s only online Intellectual Property valuation company: Subhub, which creates websites for organisations with large memberships from its headquarters in Cardiff; and Cardiff-based Rantmedia Games, the developer of Vectrex Regeneration and other games on the Apple iOS platform.
He has also been a key investor in Thomas Shellfish – which, from its Swansea base, has industrialised mussel production and now exports 100% of the molluscs it produces each year.
These investments, which add up to £1.5m, have helped these businesses create 50 jobs and continue to expand.
Mark said that Indycube Ventures is keen to give entrepreneurs access to help they may not be able to get elsewhere.
“With the growth of Indycube over the past couple of years, I have come into contact with a number of entrepreneurs who have not been able to expand their businesses because they have not had access to funding or relevant advice and support,” he said.
“Wales has good people, good ideas and the business skills to succeed, we just need to find them and give them the support, both financial and practical, that they require.”
“Through Indycube Ventures, we can do that and offer Welsh businesses that deserve to grow the opportunity to do just that.
“The companies we are aiming at must be at a stage where they have a business plan that shows they can expand. Through the ‘Develop and Grow’ programme we will be able to identify which companies can do this, and advise them on what they need to do to realise this potential.”
David added: “Whilst there is a lot of support from the public sector for starting new businesses, we are actually building successful companies in Wales without having to offer incentives from taxpayers’ money. We want to be supporting businesses because they are viable, have the potential to grow and can be a success in the long term.
“Rather than waiting for approval from schemes that are designed to help businesses start and grow, we’re just getting on and doing it. With the support Indycube Ventures will offer, this will really help to create high value knowledge-based jobs within the Welsh economy”
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