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Editors’ Forum | First Angels hunting special qualities

Published:Wednesday | January 17, 2018 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue/ Senior Gleaner Writer
Kareem Tomlinson
Sanya Goffe

First Angels Jamaica (First AngelsJa), the umbrella investor group dedicated to helping start up ventures, has underscored that it is not difficult for aspiring local entrepreneurs to get its attention.

But the ventures must have some qualities in order to get the backing of First AngelsJa.

According to Kareem Tomlinson of the Jamaica Money Market Brokers Group, one of the investors in First AngelsJa, although the group believes that entrepreneurial activity is the driver of economic growth,t three things are key for entities to receive support.

"If we believe the ideas are sound, if we believe the market size exists to make this thing viable, and if we believe the team that is driving it is a good strong team to make it work [are critical to entities receiving support]," Tomlinson told a Gleaner Editors' Forum last week.

Sanya Goffe, legal adviser to the group and an investor in Sweetie Confectionery, one of eight beneficiaries of the First AngelsJa investment, said that the ability of the entrepreneurs to listen is paramount.

"A big part of my attraction to investment in a company is the attitude of the founders. I have found that at the end of the day that can make or break what that relationship looks like.

"We have found companies that have done an excellent pitch, but the attitude is all wrong and actually becomes the point of departure," Goffe told the forum.

"So I look at that and that comes across in the pitch room as well. The point has been made that the attitude in the pitch room is what you are going to see throughout - the non-verbals, body language, posture, and sometimes the overall resistance to changes and response to constructive criticisms," added Goffe.