• James Ellaby
BFS Give Multi-Million Pound Boost To North West With New Co-Investment Angel Service

Business Finance Solutions (BFS) and the British Business Bank have launched the Co Angel Investment service, the first ever co-investment Angel partnership in the North of England that will connect businesses to syndicates of investors in a completely different way.

The new service will bring together syndicates of business angels and co-investment from the Angel Co Fund British Business Bank to invest between £150k and £4m in each of the successful businesses in the North West of England.

The Co Angel Investment service is aiming to mobilise £10m of investment into North West businesses in each 12 month period of its operations. The British Business Bank can invest alongside the funds invested by angel investors, to allow syndicates to complete larger funding rounds and to follow their monies on subsequent rounds to a greater degree.

Launching the new service at Victoria Warehouse in Manchester were Sir Howard Bernstein; Paul Breen, Director of Business Finance Solutions; Tim Mills, Investment Director at the newly formed British Business Bank; Neil McArthur M.B.E., Managing Director, Chairman, and Member of Executive Board of the Networks Division of Carphone Warehouse Group plc; and Michael Oglesby CBE DL LLD DSc Founder & Chairman of Bruntwood and Co Chairman of the Greater Manchester LEP Advisory Board.

Paul Breen, Director of Business Finance Solutions, said: “Greater Manchester is a thriving entrepreneurial base but the level of business angel activity and success here falls below expectation, with the South East currently scooping 74% of Angel investment. Co Angel Investment is a completely new concept that creates better and lower risk opportunities for angels that supports businesses that are struggling to find funding. We want to build an early stage market with the capacity and impact to match that seen in the US and to capitalise on the unique match funding agreement from the British Business Bank.

“This is an incredible opportunity for investors and businesses alike. We know that Business Angel investment is on the rise as investors look for alternative sources of revenue but there is a finite number of people with the funds to invest significantly in growing companies. Co Angel Investment will make the business of investment simpler and more secure by matching hand picked groups of investors with businesses that are prepared and poised to make the very most of that funding.”

Tim Mills said: “This is the first Co Angel Investment service to be launched in the north. It will be a new and powerful force for bringing businesses and business angels together in a completely different way, connecting businesses to investors, investors to syndicates, and syndicates to co-funding.

“This is a huge opportunity for Greater Manchester to show the rest of the country and the world the wealth of business innovation, ideas and people that we need to be actively driving our economy forward.”


Unlike traditional Angel networks, the Co-Investment Angel service provides an active vehicle to create syndicates and complete deals. Crucially it also works alongside investors and the businesses throughout and beyond the investment process and creates a radical new concept in the delivery of business angel finance that is aimed solely at syndicates of two or more investors. By bringing more investors together the service enables angels to pool their skills and contacts and invest in a wider range of companies with a reduced risk factor.

  • Co Angel Investment is a public/ private partnership run by BFS that seeks out and creates groups of Angel investors who are expert in growth industry sectors
  • Each collaborative group of Angels will be led by a lead angel who has expertise in the sector of the investment
  • BFS works with the businesses seeking funding to ensure they are investment ready and pitch prepared
  • A team of BFS investment directors works with the angels and the businesses throughout the life of the investment and beyond to ensure that the funding is being optimised and that the business is able to accelerate their growth with additional investment if they need it
  • The British Business Bank is able to leverage if eligible each investment made by the syndicates into a North West business, increasing the value of the Angel funding for each project
  • Co Angel Investment will be working closely with key partners such as universities and science parks to identify and support businesses operating in growth sectors including technology, science and digital

Business Finance Solutions is a Government-backed, Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) and a service of The Manchester Growth Company. Established in 2002 it has a strong history in providing technical support and alternative business finance across the North West to Entrepreneurs who wish to start & grow their businesses. As part of the Government’s Solutions for Business Services, BFS has a range of affordable business loans and services delivered on behalf of the Department for Business innovation & Skills (DBIS) by a team of experienced lending professionals. BFS offers finance from £500 with advice on availability of up to £5m.