Fri | Sep 22, 2017

First Angels looks overseas for investors

Published:Wednesday | March 15, 2017 | 3:00 AMTameka Gordon
Sandra Glasgow, founding member and manager of First Angels Jamaica.

First Angels Jamaica (FAJ) is hoping to grow its member investor base by the end of the year by tapping well-off Jamaicans resident overseas to back some of the ventures it considers worthy of financing.

Its outreach included a recent presentation at the offices of the consul general in New York that was meant to inform potential investors about the work of the angel network.

"We have an objective to recruit members of the diaspora. We want to broaden the base of our membership and include people in other markets," FAJ administrator Sandra Glasgow told Gleaner Business.

She said the idea is to identify backers overseas so that companies financed through the network have a ready pool of investors to support them when they launch into markets beyond Jamaica.

"When we invest in companies, these companies are exporting their services or products and we want to have investors in those markets that can help to mentor and connect them within the marketplace," Glasgow said.

FAJ is hoping to land three to five overseas members by year end.

"It's really the start of a journey," Glasgow said of the new push.

So far, FAJ has seen some expressions of interest. "We are going to be following up with them," she said.

FAJ is a network of 30 of Jamaica's most prominent business owners and companies that provides financial backing to companies at various stages of their growth.

The reception in New York also included the New Employment Opportunities for Youth in Jamaica Project NEO.

The NEO project will assist with internship placements for 2,000 marginalised Jamaican young people, FAJ said in a media release about the New York event.

NEO Jamaica is part of a regional project that seeks to increase job opportunities for poor, vulnerable and low-income Jamaican young people between the ages 17 and 29, according to FAJ, which said Jamaica is the only English-speaking country participating in the programme.

"The project will benefit 10,000 vulnerable youth, 50 per cent of whom are female, through the provision of strengthened training at 11 key training and employment institutions islandwide," FAJ said.

Since its inception, FirstAngels has received over 250 applications, hosted 14 pitch events at which 26 ventures have sought funding. It is currently conducting due diligence on five projects, with a view to completing the investment approval process by month end.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com