The financial crisis in 2008 brought about profound changes in many sectors of the economy, hospitality included. Banks were afraid to invest and people were too cautious to spend. Then something changed. A new wave of entrepreneurs entered the business world, bringing positive messages to the market. They introduced new concepts that revitalised global economy. Many would agree we have seen so many changes in the last five years, but one question needs to be answered. How can we nurture this change and talent?
Over the last few months, EP has developed a community to assist innovation and to create a framework for growth and investment. Our aim is to push the boundaries by facilitating investments in innovation. For this reason, EP has worked to create a community of 85 entrepreneurs bringing large businesses together with the new and young to either invest or take on their products into their businesses. It has been exciting to see how the two have begun to work together.
With this objective in mind, EP has then partnered with Red Ribbon Asset Management to create a new fund aiming to facilitate business investments into new hospitality ideas and talent. EP aims to support entrepreneurs through introducing two routes for investments: direct investments and investments via the hospitality fund, both of which depend on the nature and performance of the business.
The EP community of entrepreneurs includes established companies with promising growth plans, new property and hotel concepts, restaurant concepts, social enterprises, new food and drink products, interior design and fashion services, IT start.ups, social enterprises and sport companies. In order to support them, EP has been facilitating contact with the so-called Angel Investors. There is no limit in the concept creation and there is some exceptional talent with the courage to try and build their own businesses. This is why access to capital is crucial to help those entrepreneurs that need to get their business started.
As an old African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. Companies have proven themselves to be very powerful when working together in alliance and to be effective in the present market. Last month, Red Ribbon Asset Management was the Fund Manager for the Hospitality Fund that was listed on the Gibraltar Stock Exchange with a view of further supporting hospitality businesses and entrepreneurs. EP has worked with Red Ribbon Asset Management over the last two years on projects in both India and the UK.
This project is well-placed at a time when exciting new ideas and concepts are coming through. Together, we are building momentum between large and established businesses to work with the new. There is a consistent flow of new entrepreneurs approaching us with the view of being part of the community and working with us.
How will the Fund work?
The fund will invest in all areas of hospitality with a significant proportion of the fund being invested in start.ups. A specialist Investment Committee that will be made up of experts supported by a finance team, will review those ideas and work with the Entrepreneurs to prepare their business plans for consideration. It would be an exciting development if the fund could bring together Industry to invest into the Industry. We can define it as the Robin Hood ideal reworked as we are seeking that those interested in investing to support great talent and ideas that are breaking through.
The last six or seven years has been very difficult for entrepreneurs and start.ups. Banks have not been easy to work with and there is some scepticism about the approaches and motives of the banks. Entrepreneurs, by their nature, will find new ways and solutions while there has been a greater alliance between business and start-ups than pre-2008 levels.
The UK has often valued its entrepreneurs as national assets to be cultivated, motivated and remunerated to the greatest possible extent. Over the years companies such as Virgin, Carphone Warehouse, Leon and others have changed the way we live and work. In addition to creating wealth from their entrepreneurial ventures, they also create jobs and the conditions for a prosperous society. By opening the doors to new businesses, employment and wealth, entrepreneurs are important to the economy for a number of core reasons:
Entrepreneurs are the catalysts for change that corporate needs, In food and hospitality, the corporate often need entrepreneurial ideas to improve standards and customer experiences. Entrepreneurs can trigger social change. New leaders can break down barriers in gender, race and prejudice and drive change in sustainability. New business models are ahead of both politics and society and hospitality must be part of this process.
Entrepreneurs are visionary leader aiming to give back .Entrepreneurs regularly nurture ventures by other like-minded individuals. They also invest in community projects and provide financial support to local charities. This enables further development beyond their own ventures. Some famous entrepreneurs, like Bill Gates, have used their money to finance food causes, from education to public health.
Entrepreneurs can be an example for future generations. The stories of entrepreneurs often inspire others to take risk and create change. This work can be a role model for others in that the Industry can really five back to support the exceptional ideas and talent of tomorrow.
Change is inevitable but the fund and EP’s work with entrepreneurs creates an excellent platform to drive wealth success and change.