BIG Approach

Response Process

Initial Enquiry

Businesses or individual entrepreneurs seeking funding are invited to make an informal approach first. Contact can be made through the BiG Office, or through one of the BiG members known to the applicant. The office will log the initial contact as a request for funding and all BiG members will be notified by e-mail of the enquiry at this point.

It is usual to make an informal approach first. However, all applications will need to complete the BiG funding application form, whether or not a business plan has been sent to BiG for review. If a Non-disclosure Agreement is requested, any BiG member can sign on behalf of the Group.

An executive summary sheet of the business, its future plans and the funding issues, will be required as a first reference point. This summary should be no longer than one or two A4 sheets. This detail will enable the principal officer to evaluate and summarise the opportunity. An appropriate BiG administration fee may be charged at this stage.

For a new business, an outline or full business plan is also normally required, although help may be provided or a referral made, if requested, should this information not be available at this stage of the opportunity.

For an established business, the annual results for the past two or three years and management accounts for the current year, together with the business mission statement and plans describing why the investment is needed, are required. Promotional materials, product data sheets or catalogues and other literature are also helpful in providing an overview of the company.

Where there are limited data available or at its discretion, BiG will charge a nominal fee to review business opportunities, after the initial enquiry stage.

Review charges are:

£150.00 plus VAT for businesses under 2 years old.
£250.00 plus VAT for businesses over 2 years old.

First Review Stage

A BiG member will be assigned to the project as lead assessor.
The first review stage will be based on the information supplied, including an interview with the project principal. This process will normally be completed within 14 working days. The information will be made available for other BiG members to examine, and might be sent to specified members by e-mail.

The opportunity will then be reviewed at the BiG Members’ monthly meeting, at which the lead member will make a report of progress. If necessary, other BiG members with specialist expertise in the field may be assigned to help the lead member provide an initial assessment of the business opportunity.

A decision on whether to proceed or to turn down the opportunity will be made, and the lead member will communicate this decision, with reasons, to the principal applicant.

Investment Review Stage

At the Investment review stage, BiG members have a serious interest in the investment opportunity, and further work and due-diligence is required to ascertain the risks involved and the potential of the opportunity.

A three-month exclusive period would normally be applied, although this may be waived if other investor organisations are to join the funding consortium.

The time frame to complete this work is dependent on the quality, quantity and timeliness of the information obtained from the applicant or external agencies, but it could take up to three months or more. This depends somewhat on the complexity of the deal, and whether or not joint investments with banks or other funding agencies have to be negotiated.

An outline letter-of-intent will be issued at the start of this stage, stating the heads-of-terms upon which BiG wishes to proceed.

BiG will then appoint its professional advisers from amongst its Corporate Membership, and the cost and delivery framework will be established and agreed amongst members.

The Investment Stage

BiG will charge a flat fee of £1,500 when a business opportunity proceeds to a successful investment conclusion. Fees are to cover part of the costs in time, expenses and due-diligence fees incurred. Legal costs will be charged separately, but will be at a fixed-cost level. BiG members invest as individuals, and the names and addresses of all those interested in investing will be provided to the applicant.

In addition, BiG will charge an annual monitoring fee of £250 per annum, billed in advance covering the first four years of investment. Additional fees will be charged for follow-on funding levels, subject to agreement.

`BiG reserves the right to appoint a Non-Executive Chairman and /or Non-Executive Directors to the board’.

Funding Application Forms

Two forms for application are available, and they can be downloaded in PDF format or apply online:

1. Application for businesses under two years old.
2. Application for an established business over two years old.

Please click on the links in the panel on the left.