Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Fayval Williams, says while start-up businesses can be generally risky, it is important that ways be found to give them an opportunity to succeed.
Addressing the Caribbean Angel Investor Forum at the Hyatt Ziva Hotel, Montego Bay, recently, Mrs. Williams said that ‘angel investing’ represents an avenue for business ideas to be turned into reality.
“I must say that when I first heard the term angel investing some years ago, I was quite curious. Today, it refers to anyone who has invested money into an entrepreneurial company. The research has shown that angel investments have soared in recent years, with a number of individuals opting to look for better returns on their money than they can get from traditional investment vehicles,” she noted.
The State Minister said that the notion that angel investing is simply a group of wealthy investors is patently false, as many start-up businesses have been facilitated and given the assistance to make good on their business plans.
“These are persons who simply want to assist. They have the experience and want to collaborate with young entrepreneurs who might be having a difficult time getting their businesses going,” Mrs. Williams pointed out.
“We know that there are companies that have little or no access to bank financing, let alone the broader capital market. We truly laud the angel investors for making opportunities available to many of these start-ups to achieve their goals,” she said.
Mrs. Williams said the business climate in Jamaica has never been better, with the country now poised for a significant take-off. She noted that the Government stands ready to be a facilitator and that the environment has been created to accommodate both local and foreign investments.
Angel investors are often retired entrepreneurs or executives, who may be interested in angel investing for reasons that go beyond pure monetary return. These include wanting to keep abreast of current developments in a particular business arena, mentoring another generation of entrepreneurs, and making use of their experience and networks on a less than full-time basis.
Thus, in addition to funds, angel investors can often provide valuable management advice and important contacts. Because there are no public exchanges listing their securities, private companies meet angel investors in several ways, including referrals from the investors’ trusted sources and other business contacts; at investor conferences; and at meetings organised by groups of angels where companies pitch directly to investors in face-to-face meetings.