Regional countries urged to secure angel investments


IF Barbados and other Caribbean Community countries are going to grow their economies, they have to move one step further in cementing angel investments.
This suggestion was put forward by Nelson Gray, an investment adviser  attached to InfoDev of the World Bank Group, during a panel discussion recently at the Radisson Hotel.
An angel investor is usually an individual/ agency which provides financial assistance for business start-ups, in exchange for equity participation in the business benefiting from the 
Gray said that angel investment is not like the typical programme that is undertaken by governments and agencies around the world on behalf of new businesses. Instead, it is a unique facility in that it is built around a programme of finding champions (businesses) to work with. 
“It is about being deeply involved and wanting to make a difference to your country, frankly,” Gray told the panel discussion.  
He also made it clear that it is not about trying to recreate the Silicon Valley – that took almost 40 years to recreate and also necessitated the USA declaring war on Japan.
“We are not doing that. We have to build a unique model for the Caribbean that will work,” he said, adding that this will take time, since in working with people they keep looking for early solutions.
However, the World Bank official said it was also necessary to present local solutions to deal with local problems. 
“So when we meet with highly net worth individuals we are going to be doing a number of things, and we have to find something that is going to work here,” Gray pointed out.
He admitted to being involved in this type of business financing for a long time, a project that has taken him to many places, including Jordan and Central Asia. 
He said that approximately 75 000 deals involving angel investments were done last year in the United States. Furthermore, there were 195 seed investments through venture capital undertaken also last year.
Gray also revealed that the programme is not without its challenges, but he said that they are attempting to create commercial businesses.

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