Whether starting up or scaling up, all businesses with ambitions to grow need access to funding. Evidence suggests businesses using external finance are more likely to achieve their growth plans, so why then do so many businesses say they would rather forgo growth than take on such finance?

This event, hosted by Invest NI, British Business Bank and InterTradeIreland, seeks to address this issue and specifically encourage businesses and their advisors to consider the alternative finance options outside of traditional Bank funding.

Whilst Bank finance remains core these alternative sources are becoming an increasingly important part of the funding landscape. Improving your knowledge and understanding of these options is an essential first step.

At the event you will:

  • hear from Northern Ireland’s Entrepreneurship Ambassador, Eleanor McEvoy, on what a scaling mind-set looks like and what it takes to make the conscious decision to scale.
  • improve your awareness and understanding of the debt and equity options available in the marketplace and help identify the funding package best suited to the needs of a business.
  • hear first-hand from businesses who have used these alternative sources of finance and what they have enabled them to achieve.
  • learn from a panel of experts on what is needed to become ‘Investor Ready’ and attract funders.
  • hear from a number of NI companies that have achieved a stock market listing and the challenges and successes experienced along the way.
  • meet with a variety of funders and advisors working together to help NI businesses grow.

Invest NI, Northern Ireland’s economic development agency, provides a range of funding solutions under the banner of ‘Access to Finance’. Established in 2011, Access to Finance is now an important element of the funding environment and a necessary aspect of the continuum of funding for SMEs. With almost £200m available, Invest NI offer seven funds spanning a deal size range of £10k to £2m (individual company support of up to £3m including follow on investments) and offering support to SMEs across both debt and equity markets. The funds are designed to support both early stage and established SMEs which are growing or exporting, or which demonstrate a potential for growth.

The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government and its programmes are supporting more than £5.9bn of finance to over 82,000 smaller businesses (as at end of September 2018).

InterTradeIreland has been helping small businesses in Ireland and Northern Ireland explore new cross-border markets, develop new products, processes and services and become investor ready over the last 20 years. InterTradeIreland’s Funding for Growth Team deliver Funding Advisory Service workshops, Equity Advisory clinics, the Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition and the Venture Capital Conference as well as part funding HBAN (Halo Business Angel Network).


08:00 Breakfast/Registration
08:30 Welcome - Mark Simpson
08:40 Mark Sterritt, UK Network Senior Manager – Northern Ireland - British Business Bank
08:50 William McCulla, Director of Corporate Finance - Invest NI
09:00 Eleanor McEvoy, Northern Ireland’s Entrepreneurship Ambassador
09:20 Case study – Diaceutics
09:50 Case study - B-Secur
10:20 Coffee Break
10:40 Investor Readiness Panel Discussion
11:10 Case Study – Braidwater
11:40 IPO Panel Discussion
12:25 Margaret Hearty, Director of Programmes & Business Services - IntertradeIreland
12:35 Summary – Mark Simpson
12.45 Meet the Funder / Advisor, Networking Lunch
14:00 Close

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Invest NI is delivering this event in partnership with British Business Bank and InterTradeIreland. Please note when registering for this event that your information will be passed on to these partners to facilitate the event and any outputs.

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Additional Details

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Titanic Belfast

Olympic Way,

Queens Road,

Titanic Quarter,


United Kingdom