I've just returned from the NGFC Open Forum, held in Haymarket, Picadilly. It was a well-attended meeting, with an enthusiastic crowd of entrepreneurs.
The Hub Westminster is a global network, been around for 6 years, and connects entrepreneurs to mentors and capital.
Ben Hughes is CE of Community Development Finance Association, and oversees a sizeable Growth Fund, specializing in Micro-finance of £25,000 or less. The criteria is that the applicant be 'non bankable'.
Rasheed Adekunle of CEME offered free assistance with preparation of Business Plans tailored to help raise finance. There was a happy crowd to see him.
There was also a panel of Entrepreneurs to share their experiences of raising capital.
One complaint was about the handicapping rules the FSA imposes, such as being able to send a business plan to only 99 potential investors and keeping a Register of the 99. This is like restricting the finding of a needle in a haystack. Here perhaps the government can make the rules more in tune with the practicalities of raising finance.
The Next Generation Finance Consortium and Hub Westminster are operating under the aegis of the European Union Development Fund. If funds are actually available to people who would like to start their small enterprise but need funds, then it would go some way to improve the momentum of job and wealth creation.