In 2012 alone, 5.1 billion Euros were invested by angel investors in Europe, a 19 percent growth in comparison to 2011. The size of the angel community also increased to 261,000 business angels. All these factors showed a growing market but still far from its full potential.
Aiming to improve the awareness of this market on both sides of the coin, the European Business Angels Network (EBAN) decided to set up the European Business Angels Week – EBAW – to attract more investors and show SMEs the advantages of angel investor’s “smart money.”
From the beginning, the goals were to drive visibility to angel investment in Europe, showcase European success stories supported by business angels and to engage with different market stakeholders for further collaboration with angel actors. The first edition in 2013 featured 141 events in 34 countries all across Europe. The initiative was recognized and supported by European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes and Director General for Enterprise and Industry Daniel Calleja. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso also inaugurated BAW on behalf of the European Commission as an initiative for a more innovative and sustainable Europe.
EBAN Past President Paulo Andrez said the success of the Business Angels Week shows there is a huge untapped potential to create an even larger and stronger business angel community in Europe.
“If we combine the 5.1 billion Euros – a record of investment last year – with the diverse and engaged angel investment community across Europe taking part in this week, I risk saying we are entering a new era in European angel investment,” said Andrez. “A good example of this dynamic is the engagement of countries with emerging angel markets in which I wouldn’t be surprised to see new Business Angel Networks being created as a result of the Week.”
Joined by its partners MENA Business Angels Network (MBAN) and Africa Business Angels Network (ABAN), EBAN organised in 2014 the second edition of the initiative, retitled Business Angels Week. With this international collaboration, the Business Angels Week crossed the borders of Europe by fostering events also in the Middle East and Africa.
Breaking the record of the year before, the second Business Angels Week gathered 244 events in 55 countries. The participation of international partners, contributes to the global knowledge-based innovation and entrepreneurial economy with cross-border and cross-continent Angel and private investment.
“Success stories drive entrepreneurship and private/angel investment around the world,” said Candace Johnson, President of EBAN, as well as founder and architect of the European/Global Success Story, Société Européenne des Satéllites.
“In today’s global markets, a company must be born global. That is why we are pleased to be celebrating Business Angel Week … with our partners MBAN and ABAN, as well as joining our colleagues from the Global Entrepreneurship Week to initiate Global Business Angels Day.”
This year, the Business Angels Week was celebrated during Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) from Nov. 16-22, with events going through mid-December as well. The aim was to emphasize the importance of the early stage sector and in particular, business angels and related events. By partnering with the Global Entrepreneurship Network and GEW, the BAW received support from the international community through the Global Business Angels Network.
Featuring 260 events in 30 countries, the Business Angels Week remains the world’s largest cross-border angel investment awareness initiative featuring Business Angels and Entrepreneurs from Europe, the Middle East (MBAN) and Africa (ABAN).
The BAW was launched during the second day of the 14th EBAN Winter University and Creative Business Cup competition in Copenhagen, Denmark, in front of more than 500 angel investors and entrepreneurs. Emphasizing the importance of the early stage sector, and in particular business angels and related events, EBAN wants to “provide support, foster and fuel entrepreneurship and growth in Europe, Middle East and Africa,” said Johnson.
Business Angels Week aims to increase awareness in emerging angel economies and keep angel investing in the top of the agenda for those markets where they already perform. European business angels are increasingly active and wide-spread: Be it debates, investment forums or workshops, there is a multiple offer of initiatives that bring angel investors closer to the entrepreneurial community.
The week is a pan-European effort to highlight the role of angel investment across Europe and to increase the number of business angels funding SMEs in their early development stages. The added value of the Business Angels Week lies precisely in raising awareness about the global possibilities and bridging the communication gap and matchmaking between the entrepreneurs and investors.