By WILLIAM TELFORD, Business Editor

 THE concept of business angel investment is not unknown in Plymouth – but in Germany it’s not all about profit.

In Leipzig, a number of early-stage firms have received support from more established companies.

And in turn they look to support others as they grow.

But it’s not just about taking a financial stake in a promising business – it’s seen as a responsible thing to do.

“Companies are investing in other companies, like business angels,” said Sven Noack, an investment expert at Invest Region Leipzig, the east German city’s economic development company.”

He added: “In Leipzig you can see companies that were start-ups 10 to 12 years ago, and are now strong, develop into a kind of venture group.

“They are participating not only in their own types of companies, but in others.

“They are thinking with their hearts, but also see the ideas.”

One example is BoMaBi, the successful Leipzig-based children’s poster firm, which is experiencing high growth just two years after launching.

The company, already covered in The Herald, was assisted by leading Berlin brand and communications firm Diffferent, which took a 15 per cent stake in the company.

BoMaBi founder Lars Winkler said Diffferent was excited by his product and wanted to share a part of it.

But the firm’s input wasn’t just financial, it provided advice too.

“They saw this investment with their hearts, not a calculator – they liked the product,” he said.

Now Mr Winkler wants to support other start-ups in the same way.

“The best way for a company to go on is to support young companies, mentor start-ups,” he said. “We have great entrepreneurship but need more mentoring. It’s not only about the money.”

Read more: http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Plymouth-Leipzig-business-angels-support-SMEs/story-21285769-detail/story.html#ixzz35eYMDA64

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