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Ulster Bank partners up to demystify Angel Investment


Thursday 27 October 2022

Ulster Bank partners up to demystify Angel Investment

Ulster Bank has joined forces with a number of leading organisations to call for more female Angel Investors in Northern Ireland.

At an event hosted in the bank’s Accelerator Hub today (27th October) representatives from the UK Business Angels Association, Women in Business NI, AwakenHub, the British Business Bank, and Ulster Bank set out how increasing the number of female angel investors here would help boost the number of female entrepreneurs and encourage more women to increase their financial portfolios.

Around 70 entrepreneurs attended the informal briefing sessions where they were given an insight into the benefits of angel investing and an update on the Women Backing Women campaign, which aims to inspire more women across the UK to become business angels and early-stage investors.

Backed by the Women Angel Investment Taskforce, this flagship project believes that increasing the number of female business angels will also boost the number of female entrepreneurs and help them access funding more readily in order to scale their businesses and create a stronger, more diverse entrepreneurial landscape across all areas of the UK.

Jenny Tooth OBE, Executive Chair of the UK Business Angels Association kicked off the discussion, outlining the importance of angel investment as a source of risk capital.

“Angel Investment is one of the most significant sources of capital for entrepreneurs because it can deliver business experience, advice, support and connections, on top of vital funding. However one of the key challenges we face is the continuing low proportion of female angel investors which limits the pool of capital available to support the levels of growth and innovation we all want to see.

“Our report into Female Angel Investors, produced in collaboration with the NatWest Group, shows direct correlation between growing the number of female angels and the levels of investment in female entrepreneurs, so there is a genuine need to encourage many more women right across the UK and especially here in Northern Ireland, to consider Angel investing,  if we want to see female founders grow and scale businesses at the same rate as their male counterparts.”

Guests also heard from local Angel Investor, Mary McKenna MBE, a former tech entrepreneur who co-runs AwakenHub, an all-island support programme for women founders,  with four other women. During a panel moderated by Susan Nightingale from the British Business Bank, Mary recounted her own experience as an angel investor and spoke about her efforts to increase understanding of this type of investment on the island of Ireland.

“The recent report into Female Angel Investors shows that Northern Ireland is lagging behind other parts of the UK when it comes to female-angel backed businesses. In fact, as of April 2022, just 38 companies had female angel investors which must be grown significantly if we are to enable female entrepreneurs to increase their access to funding.

“This is why investors and entrepreneur advocates must come together to address some of these issues and why we are so passionate about opening clear paths to angel investment in our day-to-day work with AwakenHub. Ulster Bank has supported and encouraged our work from the very beginning and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to come to today’s event and bring our message directly to those who need to hear it most.”

John Ferris, Regional Ecosystem Manager with Ulster Bank thanked all of those who took part and reaffirmed Ulster Bank’s commitment to levelling the playing field for female entrepreneurs.

“Today’s event was a great success and kicks off a series of support programmes and events we hope to deliver on this important issue. The Women Angel Insights Report reminds us all just how much work still needs to be done if we are to meet our aims of the Rose Review and create 600,000 new women-led businesses by the end of the decade. To this end, we are recommitting our efforts to support initiatives such as the Women Backing Women Campaign, in the hope that by creating more angel investors we help female founders realise their ambitions.

“Thanks to each of our speakers and guests who took the time to attend today’s event and contributing to what we hope will be a fruitful attempt to increase access to funding.”

For more information on upcoming events, follow Ulster Bank NI’s social media channels. To read the report and learn more about the impact of female angels on the UK economy, visit


Thursday 27 October 2022

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