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Angel Hubs from Barclays to provide UK scale-ups funding and mentoring access

Barclays has inked a deal with the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) to create Angel Hubs, a series of incubators that will provide companies in scale-up mode with access to funding and mentoring opportunities.
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The first Angel Hub will launch at Barclays’ “Eagle Lab” incubator in Birmingham in April, with the bank and the trade body connecting local angel investors to entrepreneurs.

Barclays’ Eagle Labs plan was revealed at the start of March, with the company professing a plan to support UK businesses and entrepreneurs with a “national network” of the locations.

Collaboration is at the core of the scheme, which will deliver mentoring, funding guidance and workspace to grow ideas and ultimately the business.

It’s not entirely unlike the programme from business accelerator Entrepreneurial Spark, which has tied up with NatWest. In fact, the first of the duo’s hubs also opened in Birmingham back in February 2015, which kick-started a rollout across the country.

Richard Heggie, head of high growth and entrepreneurs at Barclays, said: “We know that for UK businesses, access to the right types of funding plays a vital role in their growth and this partnership with the UKBAA will help ambitious entrepreneurs. We want UK scale ups to have access to a range of experts in our newly launched Eagle Labs.

“This supports our plans to help high growth businesses across the country achieve scale through tailored advice, funding and mentorship. We’re pleased to start this partnership in Birmingham, which in turn will also help strengthen the angel community in the region, crucial to sustainable economic development.”

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Two funds totaling £150m from Heggie’s department have been created to support the companies participating: Barclays’ High Growth Venture Debt Fund and Innovation Finance.

The Birmingham Eagle Lab will boast a 2,500 sq ft space and will be located at the local council’s Innovation Birmingham Campus, which is dubbed a “a one-stop-shop for innovators, entrepreneurs and investors”.

“While the angel market is flourishing in London, there is an opportunity to support its further development in other regions and cities around the UK. We are delighted to be launching the first of our regional Angel Hubs at Barclays’ new Eagle Lab in Birmingham,” added Jenny Tooth, CEO of UKBAA.

“This will offer a new focal point to build and connect the angel community, offering opportunities for both existing and would-be angels to drop in and meet fellow investors and develop new syndicates and to meet and potentially invest in the innovative entrepreneurs and ‘makers’ at the Eagle Lab.

“Investors will be able to access entrepreneur pitching events, as well as awareness and training workshops for new angels, drawing on our new Angel Qualification and Accreditation programme.”

For all of George Osborne’s talk of the Northern Powerhouse, it’s said to be the Midlands Powerhouse that has the advantage.

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Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the former deputy editor of Real Business. His areas of interest included media, innovation, technology and the digital sector.

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