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Andrew Coles' viewpoint on investing in growing businesses

I've already talked to a number of established North East-based businesses with interesting growth plans. But why should businesses be investing to expand and what makes a robust plan?

These are interesting times. The current economic climate has hardened many businesses and made them re-focus their priorities. Many businesses know what they need to do to grow and in some cases have been presented with some excellent opportunities.

Capital is crucial

Undoubtedly many businesses need to be better capitalised to achieve their growth plans. Sourcing growth capital can be an issue.

With the new fund we have a substantial amount of available capital. Our challenge is to work with businesses to make sure their growth plans get off the ground and don't end up in the 'too difficult' category.

Practically, turning growth plans into a reality can be complex, often involving funding from a range of sources. FW Capital is keen to invest with other funders to work with businesses to leverage the right level of capital for their needs.

Keys to securing funding

Any business aiming for organic expansion (e.g. by investing in people, technology or infrastructure) or taking a faster track approach by acquiring another business must have:

  • A robust business plan
  • A strong management team
  • A clear exit strategy

A business plan must truly reflect what's happening in the business. We need to believe the management team really understands how it will grow its revenues and profits and ultimately achieve its growth plans.

What you should do now

Contact us with details about your business or your client's business.

FW Capital manages the £20 million North East Growth Plus Fund which is part of the £125 million fund. Targeted at established small and medium-sized businesses, the Growth Plus Fund can make single-round investments of between £350,000 and £1.25 million and can also invest in subsequent rounds.

Joanne Pratt replaced Andrew Coles as FW Capital Fund Manager in 2012.