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The Warsaw Voice » Business » March 18, 2009
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Banking on Business Angels
March 18, 2009   
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180 million euros will go to Poland this year as part of funds earmarked by the European Commission for investment in rural areas; of this, 144 million euros will be spent on the development of internet access.

The Lewiatan Polish Confederation of Private Employers has launched a program to stimulate the so-called business angels system in Poland. The program aims to support those who come up with innovative business ideas by providing them with information they need to successfully carry out projects in partnership with business angels.

A "business angel" is a private investor-an entrepreneur or other individual-with experience and capital who supports selected business ventures, especially start-ups. A business angel offers companies their knowledge, experience and funding in exchange for a stake in the venture.

Brigitte Baumann, head of a Swiss business angels network and vice-president of the European Business Angels Network, says many start-ups and ventures cannot count on any funding from banks. At a time of crisis, banks are even less eager to lend money to them. In many cases, venture capital funds are also unwilling to take the risk. In such a case, teaming up with a business angel may be a good alternative and a chance for business success, Baumann says.

Tomasz Grzybowski, a member of the Lewiatan Business Angels group, says:"We are approached by many investors who have money and a lot of experience in business, but are afraid of investing on the stock market. So we are waiting for good business ideas."

Set up in September 2005 with the use of EU funds, the Lewiatan Business Angels network supports ventures involving innovative business ideas that are supposed to provide the venture with a sustained competitive edge. Lewiatan Business Angels are entrepreneurs and managers who contribute their funds, business contacts and expertise to new business ventures. In December last year, the Lewiatan Polish Confederation of Private Employers received over zl.14 million in European Union funds to stimulate Poland's business angels market.
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