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A new investment community in Lancashire is already helping business owners in the technology and digital sector connect directly with debt and equity funding providers from across the UK after just two events.

FHundED was launched in July this year by Lancashire County Council with innovation consultancy Northern Reach. It is centred on a series of networking events held at Fraser House, a coworking and events space in Lancaster which is owned and operated by Lancashire County Council.

The community is designed to prompt better collaboration and investment in tech and digital businesses in Lancashire and is aimed specifically at Lancashire based technology and digital business owners with the ambition to gain investment.

The events, which are free, are also attended by a growing number of venture capital firms including Praetura Ventures, Mercia and DSW Ventures as well as angel investors and several commercial lenders including NatWest.

Rory Southworth, Fraser House manager and FHundED lead, Lancashire County Council said: “There is a great tech and digital community in Lancashire, but figures continue to show that Lancashire-based businesses are less likely to consider external finance than their counterparts in other areas of the UK.

“FHundED was launched specifically to bridge that gap between the digital business community and funding providers.

“We’ve held two events so far which are attended by 60-80 representatives from business and a strong, growing, group of venture capital, angel and other investors. It’s an excellent chance for Lancashire businesses to develop personal relationship with key decision makers from funders they wouldn’t get chance to elsewhere.”

In addition to the networking events, FHundED is in the process of forging closer relationships with some of the funders which regularly attend its events.

This includes organising a number of investment readiness events with funding experts to help Lancashire entrepreneurs better understand the steps they need to take to secure investment.

Manchester-based Praetura is set to hold its first founder feedback event in Lancashire at Fraser House on October 24 this year to help businesses better understand exactly what it looks for in an investment pitch.

FHundED is also organising a fundraising peer to peer session with FWS Advisory on November 2 as well as a workshop with Natwest on November 22, looking specifically at helping businesses to optimise their pitch deck.

Amin Vepari, business finance and scaleup lead, Lancashire County Council, said: “The success of FHundED in this short space of time has shown there is a real appetite from funders to invest in Lancashire businesses and also from businesses to understand more about the investment community.

“In addition to FHundED, Lancashire County Council has also launched a Lancashire Funding Hub to help businesses better understand their external funding options. It includes information on a range of debt and equity funding providers as well as inspirational news and Q&As from experts and businesses.”

Businesses can find out more about the events happening as part of FHundED by visiting FHundED’s  LinkedIn page and can access the Lancashire Funding Hub here: https://www.boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk/business-support/lancashire-funding-hub/

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