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Posted October 27, 2008
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Venture Capital

New Angel Investment Group Launched in York Region

Initiative to help make financing opportunities more convenient and accessible for local businesses and more attractive for local investors

Markham - York Region businesses looking for financing to grow their young companies now have access to new funding opportunities with the launch this month of the region's first angel investment group.

Called York Angel Investors Inc. (YAI), the group has been created to service companies in Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham, Newmarket, Aurora and King City and provide investors in these communities with access to local investment opportunities that promise above average returns.

"With the launch of YAI, we're filling a gap in the community, particularly at a time when access to financing from banks is tight and venture capital prospects are scarce," said Scott MacCannell, YAI President. "York Region is a fast-growing area of one million people and there's a need among both local businesses searching for increased access to financing to grow their companies, and investors looking for funding opportunities close to home so that they can be more closely involved in their investments."

MacCannell explained that the YAI organization is looking to expand its network of investors. The group, who will meet monthly to review the presentations of up to four companies each time, will typically provide funding from $150,000 to $1 million to those businesses that can demonstrate a high potential for a superior return on investment.

"It's a win-win initiative," MacCannell said. "Businesses benefit by having access to an otherwise hard-to-find group of investors with a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience who can provide valuable advice and referrals in addition to funding, and investors benefit by being involved in a group which enables sharing of investment costs, risk reduction, and exposure to attractive investment opportunities."

An added benefit of working with YAI is that the group has secured an arrangement with the Innovation Synergy Centre in Markham (ISCM) - a leading not-for-profit business advisory centre with experienced mentors who provide services free of charge to qualified companies - in which ISCM will help YAI applicants become investor-ready.

"We'll meet with young companies and help them determine their business and financing needs, and then work with them to prepare for their meeting with YAI," said Bob Glandfield, ISCM President and CEO. "From helping to ensure their books are in order to providing guidance with their presentations, our goal is to increase the chances of success for York Region companies to access the financing they need to grow their business."

In addition to the arrangement with ISCM, both the National Angel Organization and the Town of Markham are also providing strong support to YAI, with the latter having become a sponsor of the group.

© Copyright 2008/Exchange Morning Post/Exchange Business Communications Inc.
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