A new business organisation is being launched in Leeds to encourage interaction and turn innovative ventures into reality.
The Business Catalyst Club promotes growth by creating beneficial relationships, bringing together entrepreneurs, investors and decision-makers to share new and exciting opportunities.
Their quarterly invitation-only lunch events are designed to bring added value to an extensive network of business contacts by facilitating new commercial and professional introductions.
At the same time, the venture will provide an effective platform for a select number of companies seeking growth capital to showcase their proposals to members and guests – many of whom are business angels, private investors and institutional lenders.
Proposals are considered from start-ups to more established trading businesses, with the focus on strong, scalable ideas and profitable ventures, rather than on any specific industry sector.
Founder and Director of The Business Catalyst Club is Yorkshire entrepreneur Graham Shiers. Mr Shiers has more than 18 years’ experience in the field, encouraging entrepreneurial values and emerging talent while stimulating business development and growth. He is well-known in business circles for his most recent role with the Leeds-based Entrepreneurs Club. Over the years, he has delivered successful aspirational corporate networking events in locations from Leeds and Sheffield to London, Nottingham and Birmingham and as far afield as New Jersey, USA.
Mr Shiers said: “We provide entrepreneurs and decision-makers with a dynamic, yet friendly environment where they can share ideas, information and new business opportunities with like-minded individuals. I’m extremely passionate about entrepreneurship and business growth and love nothing more than helping a company to get off the ground or to progress to the next stage.
“I’m regularly approached with a range of opportunities and issues, varying from funding requests to commercial property deals, business sales or acquisitions and introductions to professional advisors, non-executives or mentors. The Business Catalyst Club will act as a conduit for these marvellous opportunities by bringing together the right talent, at the right level to make positive things happen and open doors.
“In respect of our funding activities, there have been comparisons made to Dragon’s Den but it’s not the quite the same. While we do, indeed, support emerging talent, The Business Catalyst Club isn’t here to provide entertainment or chase ratings. The focus is on serious business models, motivated management and sensible valuations which will mutually benefit the entrepreneurs, the investors and their local economies”.
Mr Shiers stressed that The Business Catalyst Club does not provide or offer investment advice and that individuals and groups should make sure they take appropriate professional advice whilst negotiating any potential deal.
However if they do not have their own professional advisors, the organisation can introduce them to a choice of suitable experts on its Deal Maker Panel.
Many of the private investors involved in the project have a wealth of expertise and contacts to bring to the table and can offer so much more to their chosen project than just their financial input. They can also play an active role in the direction and success of their investment, mentoring the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Leading regional deal maker, Colin Glass OBE of WGN Chartered Accountants in Leeds said: “I’m very pleased about the launch of The Business Catalyst Club. Having spent my career at WGN helping start-ups and SMEs with growth potential to achieve their ambitions, I’m aware that one key factor is the requirement for funding.
“The growth of business angel networks, providing essential risk capital to these companies has been slow in the Yorkshire area up to now, so this new initiative is very welcome indeed. Graham Shiers is highly experienced at matching companies requiring funding with business angels and, with appropriate professional advice, I’m sure we will soon see an increase in the number of deals brought to completion.”