Scottish storage businesses struggling to secure investment have been offered a lifeline after the re-launch of one of the country’s top investment conferences promised to release between £6 million – £45 million in equity funding.
The Connect Conference, which was saved from extinction six months ago by business support organisation The GO Group, will now offer Scottish tech-venture companies the opportunity to raise millions in equity funding, which is otherwise unavailable in Scotland.
Enterprise Minister Jim Mather welcomed the development, saying: "I welcome the prospect of a well-networked and reinvigorated Connect Scotland playing an important part in developing new and innovative storage firms in Scotland and helping to deliver increased sustainable economic growth. I am certain that Connect’s activities will complement the comprehensive range of innovation and investment support which is already on offer in Scotland."
Connect will give business owners the opportunity to pitch to potential investors; helping organisations to secure the funding.
Chief Executive of the GO Group Isabell Majewsky, said: "Connect is integral to the development and growth of Scotland’s technology ventures. Our focus is to maintain a programme of support for companies and to help them to realise their true growth potential. We’ll do this by ensuring Connect acts as an efficient fundraising and networking body."
In order to guarantee the future success of Connect Scotland, Majewsky says that changes have been made to the previous model:
"The market has changed and therefore Connect Scotland, as an entity going forward, has changed. We know that in order to provide lasting support to Scottish businesses, we must continue to change with the market. By linking the Connect network across the UK we have created a potent synergy that will flourish in both Scotland and beyond."
Connect was saved less than six months ago after running into financial difficulty. Its assets were acquired by Glasgow-based The GO Group, in partnership with Connect Midlands and Connect Yorkshire.
Since 1996 Connect has been instrumental in securing £220 million in private equity, helping 165 companies to present their business propositions to potential financial backers. Connect works with all sectors of the technology-business community, from venture capitalists to corporate financiers, lawyers to patent attorneys and banks to universities.
Sandy Finlayson, Partner at MBM Commercial is part of the Connect Taskforce. He will be supporting the conference and assisting companies in becoming investment-ready for it.
Finlayson said: "New enterprise will play an important role during the upturn and so we must encourage and nurture entrepreneurship in Scotland. The Connect conference is designed to do just that. It will assist Scotland’s tech-venture companies, helping them get their ideas off the ground, providing them with essential funding and supporting their growth. This will inevitably lead to further success with the creation of jobs, a need for suppliers and spin-offs, all of which will be critical to Scotland’s future and the recovery of our economy."