I was at Venturefest Yorkshire yesterday and sat in on a session discussing the key findings from a recent Entrepreneurs' Survey.Posted by: David Regler @
Whilst the findings of the survey weren't exactly ground-breaking (top challenges were "cash flow and funding" and the need to generate greater sales) the discussion surrounding the survey was really interesting.
On the funding front, the room was surveyed with a quick show of hand of who had previously pitched for VC funding. Only 3 people put there hands up and, of those 2 had successfully raised funds through VC.
This corresponds with the survey data that said 81% of Entrepreneurs self-financed their business and only 1% raised finance through angel investors. Considering the event was heavily sponsored by Yorkshire Business Angels Association, that's an amazing number.
With regard to revenue and growth opportunities an upbeat 75% of the survey expected to achieve or exceed projected revenue growth. Growth strategies that came out of the survey included developing new products, technology and innovation (8%) and expansion into export markets (8%).
That last number could be a reflection on the type of businesses surveyed but it doesn't look great for UK plc in terms of export, which was a point picked up by one of the panel, Lara Morgan (founder and ex-CEO of Pacific Direct).
An interesting comment for me (which relates to the above growth strategy of product development) came from panelist Ed French, Investment Director for Finance Yorkshire. Ed made a point that many mid-sized companies often have a "product in the cupboard" that they fail to invest in bringing to market. He felt that the UK should be more like the US in this respect where there are far more spin-outs from business.
Key skills shortages that Entrepreneurs felt they needed to address were primarily in finance and sales & marketing, which really comes back to the key challenges identified in the survey.
Overall, whilst the finding may not be a big surprise, the panellist debate was excellent and Venturefest put on another event that just keeps getting better.