SME

Published: January 27, 2020 | Updated: January 27, 2020

Dorset businesses looking to ‘scale up’ urged to take part in county’s very own ‘Dragon’s Den’

Max Wright, Director, Dorset Business Angels. Picture: Dorset Biz News.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Established businesses seeking investment for the next level are being urged to take part in Dorset’s very own ‘Dragon’s Den.’

Dorset Business Angels (DBA) was formed in 2013 with the aim of bringing investors and entrepreneurs together to accelerate the growth of early stage businesses.

It provides quality, private equity investment opportunities to local high net worth and sophisticated investors.

Four times a year companies are invited to attend an event at which they pitch their business to the savvy Angels in a Dragon’s Den type scenario.

The next investor’s dinner is on Monday February 10 at the Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth Carlton.

DBA is chaired by Don McQueen, pictured right, an experienced entrepreneur, mentor, merger and acquisitions specialist, investor and non-executive director.

The other directors include Max Wright, an entrepreneur all his working life who started, grew and then sold two computer businesses between 1982 and 2008.

Both had a turnover in excess of £20m on their sale.

Max, who sits on DBA’s screening panel. said that each pitch event typically attracts between 40 and 50 applications.

These are quickly sifted down to around 25.

The panel then looks in detail at the applications and carries out the necessary research before picking their individual top five.

A telephone conference allows each director to argue the case for their particular choice before the final five for the pitch event is agreed.

Max said: “We always include at least one Dorset business but we’d like more to come forward.

“Ideally they need to be trading for a couple of years.

“They’re given ten minutes to present, often a Powerpoint presentation or video, and then ten minutes for questions before being asked to leave the room.

“A discussion is held before a decision is made on whether to go forward to the next stage, involving a follow-up and due diligence, or not pursue it.”

Max, 65, has invested in a number of ventures in recent years.

They include Vapouriz Ltd, which provides electronic cigarettes and e-liquids, and Vapestore Retail Ltd, which has 15 High Street shops and also six ‘stores within a store’.

He has also put money into Huski, a food and delivery service to every ski resort in the French Alps.

Max said: “We don’t always get it right as investors but that’s the nature of business.

“However, Dorset Business Angels is an excellent way for businesses looking to scale up to get the investment and backing they’re seeking.”

  • For more details about Dorset Business Angels click here.