Young Entrepreneurs and Investors Meet Through FIG

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Budding Business Bransons Meet the Investors

Chrissie AshleyFIG is the nickname of Find Invest Grow, a new network aimed at connecting budding business Bransons with investors, and they were there in force. Angel Investor Chrissie Ashley, who founded a pharmaceutical focused PR agency many years ago, explained she had become a FIGurehead because the returns she was getting by keeping her wealth in the bank were so negligible she couldn’t get anything near the returns she could from investing in start-ups. FIG enabled her to connect with young entrepreneurs whom she could invest in directly, helping them with mentoring and commercial know how. Chrissie and her business partner had both become involved with MyVacc, one of the start ups that would present later in the evening.

Like thenextwomen's pitchpreneur events, tonight was a chance for investors to meet FIG hopefuls.

'Since launching 6 months ago we've had over 170 applications' explained Marco Geninazza, one of FIG’s charming team. 'Of those, we refuse a lot as our application system vets out those that aren't yet funding ready. From the remainder, we put 22 into workshops to get them geared up, and the best 9 are pitching here tonight'.

cropped_figThenextwomen's pitchpreneur events are focused specifically on that highest of growth of areas - tech. FIG also reflects the modern world in that it is predominantly tech that captures people's ideas for innovation. However, they don't rule out other areas and it was nice to see exercise equipment and beauty supplies amongst the dotcoms and mobile apps pitching.

Understanding the Legal Aspects

Natasha Mwantembe, who pitched her New Strands hair extensions concept told me afterwards:

“It’s been so good being part of this network as they’ve helped me out with lots of things that I simply wouldn’t have known about like the legal side of things.”

A New Angle for Online Gaming Swap Shops

19 year old Jessica Ratcliffe was brimming with enthusiasm for her concept, GaBoom. GaBoom plans to take the UK’s ever growing love of video gaming and make it better by providing an online swap shop for gamers. With secure and insured facilities for low cost transfer of used titles to others, see hopes to siphon off a share of the used game market, something which accounted for £353m of Game Group Plc’s revenues in 2009. Using her experiences of how young gamers perceive rivals like Amazon Marketplace and eBay, she’s optimistic that her model will build greater trust from users and thereby earn itself a place in the market.

Drip Feeding the Written Word and Music

Another young female entrepreneur is Vanessa Awong Eya’a whose Owango concept marries entertaining written word with music. Titles like “The Whitehall Affair – When love is politically incorrect” are released a chapter at a time and backed with sound tracks. Users who can’t stand the tease of its every 3rd day content drip release format can pay a small fee for immediate relief and gain access to the next episode. Unconventional and cross genre, it’s a new idea to help writers and musicians can gain traction. Already in BETA there are titles and tracks appearing together with community features to make the experience social.

With young entrepreneurial graduates and students providing both enthusiasm, energy and a rapid fire succession of ideas, Find Invest Grow are supported in their activities by EnterpriseUK and a network of advisors and experts. FIG founder James King also announced their new initiative – OfficeMentor. FIG would like companies with spare desk space to rent it to their young entrepreneurs, thus bringing the company fresh air, a nominal revenue stream and the chance to connect young entrepreneurs with mentors.

Digital Natives, the Voices of Tomorrow

With the internet rapidly approaching it’s 20th anniversary, we are fast approaching the time when digital natives – those who’ve never known a world without broadband and mobile communications – are the voice of tomorrow. Their use and interaction with technology gives much hope for those with an entrepreneurial attitude and we’ll be watching this space for the next generation of start ups.

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