CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

There's still money to be made in the Cotswolds

PUBLISHED: 12:16 17 December 2010 | UPDATED: 15:20 20 February 2013

Michael Howes

Michael Howes

Getting funding for your project is still the key issue for any budding entrepreneurs hoping to set up in business

There's still money to be made in The Cotswolds

The value of property might be dropping, utility prices might be on the up, but don't despair - there's still money to be made out there.

Historically, more businesses are born in difficult economic times than at any other time, according to Michael Howes, Managing Director of Pilot Cottage, the business coaching and investment readiness company that helps Cotswold entrepreneurs to grow and finance their new business ideas.

Michael is currently working with four Cotswold projects, two of which are investment-ready and have received funding offers. What they have in common, he says, is great management teams with driving ambition and the right combination of knowledge and skills in their market or industry sector.

So how does an entrepreneur go about securing investment for an idea?

"The first step is often deciding what the business will look like in say three to five years time," explains Michael. "If your vision is of a viable enterprise with an even greater future, then you already have the platform upon which to build your investment case."

The second step is preparing a business plan detailing the business idea, market opportunity and goals and of course the resources, including funding, that you need to help you achieve them. Working with an Investment Readiness Coach can help you prepare a document that meets investors' expectation and can often speed up the process.

It can take between six week and six months to get investment funding, depending upon your business stage and the time of year. First round funding takes longer than subsequent rounds and private investors tend to invest during the Spring and Autumn months.

Unlike the BBC programme 'Dragon's Den', the majority of Business Angels are not particularly scary and they can bring both industry knowledge and a network of contacts to a business as well as an injection of cash. But you'll still need to check out their CV and take up references with other entrepreneurs they have helped.

The British Business Angels Association website lists member organisations and the national Business Link website has a good introduction to equity finance and answers a number of key questions. Michael's company, Pilot Cottage, is also running a Cotswold based workshops covering this topic, such as Business Plans and Angels on 24th September in Painswick.

So what's in it for your business angel? Profit of course. Like all investors, business angels are looking for a return on their investment and with early stage businesses, this is achieved through the sale of the business at the end of their investment term. However, most angels invest for longer than they anticipate and the average exit is currently after seven years, rather than the three to five years that they had anticipated.

Michael adds: "The rule of thumb for angel investment is to 'double your money' in three years. However, not only do investments generally take longer to mature than expected, but the business plans that you presented to angels to seek their investment are often not the plan that entrepreneurs subsequently put into practice, especially during a period of recession."

Michael thinks that it's the smart or technology-based businesses which are more likely to attract investment over the next few years, together with those based in leisure, sports, medical and healthcare sectors.

He adds : "The creative arts are also beginning to attract investors' interest, including film makers, digital animators and e-publishers."

Other commentators feel that growing and selling food is also going to be popular, as well as selling 'affordable' luxury goods. Another growing area is selling goods and services to the over-50s, who still have disposable income available.

So could we all be entrepreneurs in these challenging times? Michael is not so sure.

"Entrepreneurs often have something special about them and it is these 'wow' factors and how they inject them into their business that makes their business special too."

Michael Howes can be contacted at :


More from People

Yesterday, 11:53

Helping clients through divorce, separation and disputes over children, we talk to 8 divorce lawyers in the Cotswolds

Read more
Yesterday, 11:52

We’ve some extraordinary, and inspiring, women in business in the Cotswolds. We talk to 7 female trailblazers in local industry who offer the business advice they’ve lived by

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

25 years in business is no mean feat – and the owner of Lauren’s Catering has lost none of his ambition

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Julian Dunkerton has moved his family’s cider-making business from Herefordshire to the outskirts of Cheltenham, where it boasts a state-of-the-art production unit and a stylish new shop. But don’t think the heart of the business has changed one whit: it still honours the core values Ivor and Susie Dunkerton held dear when they planted their first apple tree, nearly 40 years ago

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

If you want to spread some Christmas cheer to those in need, here are some fantastic charities in the Cotswolds to donate to

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Harnessing the power of social media, charity awards and dreaming up new projects - it’s all in a day’s work for Gloucestershire children’s charity Pied Piper and its corporate supporters

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Cotswolds’ very own Prince of Wales turns 70 this month, so we looked back on some of the highlights of his life and career, and wondered what birthday pressies we would buy for the man who has the world at his feet

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

When landowners are looking to sell their land, and want a transparent journey that delivers them best value, Rosconn Strategic Land is here to take them through the process.

Read more

Radio DJ Paul Gambaccini has secured a payout from prosecutors over unfounded allegations of historical sex offences. The presenter, 69, was arrested in 2013 over a claim he sexually assaulted two teenage boys in the early 1980s. Mr Gambaccini always denied the claims, calling the case “completely fictitious”. He spent a year on bail before the case was dropped. Two years later he gave this interview to Katie Jarvis

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Barn Theatre’s artistic director, Iwan Lewis, talks to Candia McKormack about a rather special project aimed at bringing the Cotswold community together in commemoration of the Great War’s fallen

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The environmental charity set up to protect Stroud’s industrial heritage now enhances the lives of its own volunteers. Katie Jarvis meets chief executive Clare Mahdiyone to hear about her Cotswold Life

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Alex Caccia was in two minds about setting up Animal Dynamics as a limited company, but a shark attack warning changed all of that. Tanya Gledhill meets a man on a mission to change propulsion, one animal at a time

Read more
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

He quit his job with a few thousand pounds in savings and an empty garage. In less than a year, Nick Grey’s technology company Gtech was flying. Tanya Gledhill meets him

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search