Date: 16-17 Oct 2018
Venue: NEC, Birmingham Hall 1 (Stand E44)
Imagine a funding scheme for SMEs* that is backed by the UK government and offers all of these benefits:
It might sound too good to be true, and yet 200 UK companies that Ying De have worked with since 2008 have raised a total of £40 million from Chinese investors. Similar to other government schemes operating in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa scheme, launched by the UK Home Office over a decade ago around the time of the financial crisis, was designed to help small businesses grow by bringing in funding and talents from highly skilled foreign investors.
So what are the key benefits for SMEs?
Desiree Xu, Operations Director, Ying De explained: “Even though it may be less well-known than crowdfunding and other alternative financing options, we think the scheme is actually one of the most unique and competitive ways to raise fund.
“Because of the Home Office rules, the financial side of it is already very attractive to small businesses: unsecured funding, a minimum £200,000 investment per investor, and a five-year capital repayment holiday. But what really sets it apart is that it automatically combines fundraising and bridging the skills gap at a company into one.
“Take for example the IT and renewable energy companies that we’ve worked with. Apart from raising fund, they had struggled to compete with the bigger companies in hiring talents with very specific skills at a competitive salary level. Or they hadn’t even thought it possible to be able to find an expert with a sound supplier network in China.
“But through the scheme and using our extensive office network in China, we were able to identify for them a Chinese Oxford maths graduate with a Masters degree, and a senior manager with ten years of experience in China’s energy sector. The investors now work at the companies as committed “employees” because of the investment. It really is a win-win for both the company and investor.”
What results have the participating companies seen?
Synapse Information, an award-winning SaaS solution provider based in Birmingham, invested the £600,000 raised in expanding its workforce in key areas such as business development and ramping up their marketing campaigns. Brian Donnelly, CEO and Founder commented: “Our pipeline is growing very considerably. The number of qualified prospects has shot up sixfold compared with what we had before, and we have numerous leads currently in the latter stages of the sales pipeline.”
Speaking of one of the Chinese investors who is now working in its product development team, Brian said: “He is just very, very smart. That helps tremendously because we only hire very bright people in the company. A super nice chap too!”
Another company, Bri-Tek, provides innovative LED lighting solutions from its Manchester office to global blue-chip clients in the industrial and commercial sectors. The transformation brought about by the £200,000 investment has been dramatic. Mohamed Hanslod , CEO: “In May, we had the biggest sales in the company’s history. We managed a 100% increase compared with last year! Because of the funding that we have in place, we are now able to accept more orders.”
With China being its largest supplier base, the arrival of the Chinese investor has completely removed the language and cultural barriers that were challenging for Bri-Tek at times in the past.
To find out whether the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa scheme may be right for you, simply book an appointment via the link below to see us at Stand E44 or hear us speak at the Funding Seminar at 12:00pm on Day 1 of the event.
Alternatively, contact us now if you would like to speak to a member of our team.
Phone: 0161 209 3815 | 0161 209 3816
* The fund raised cannot be invested in property investment, property management or property development.
** The interest rate of 3-5% is based on historical data and can vary by company.