WBAF 2016

World Business Angels Investment Forum brotght together the best European SME, public and corporate early stage market players currently working in collaboration to ease the access to finance for SMEs and Entrepreneurs on the 23rd and 24th of February 2016 in Istanbul. The forum also introduced new collaborations between SME’s, entrepreneurs and public organisations to address equity gap challenges and solutions.

The World Business Angels Investment Forum aimedto keep the momentum going and worked together to develop new financial instruments to bring more access to finance for innovators, entrepreneurs, start-ups and SME’s across the world.

Governments have recognised the importance of angel investment to support start-up and early stage businesses and notably through the up-to 75 % tax breaks as a major incentive to individuals to back small businesses. However, it is also vital that the angel –backed ventures are able to reach their full growth potential and become the global businesses of the future, generating employment and wealth into the world economy. Notably the event will be focusing on the importance of creating a connected pathway to growth and exit for businesses that have been nurtured by angel investors.

Many highly experienced angel investors have developed extensive portfolios including some very promising highly disruptive businesses that they have taken through several rounds of funding. However many of these businesses have reached an important stage of development where the angels need to seek next level of growth and potential exit liquidity to enable the angel investors to go on to make further investments in early stage business.

Currently, the opportunities to find suitable sources of growth or exit for angel–backed businesses have been very limited. Exits through a trade sale remain very difficult to achieve with corporates being reluctant to make investments in the current economic climate.

At the same time, the route to IPO and public markets for angel –backed businesses has to date been largely regarded by the angel investment community as inaccessible and too onerous and difficult to contemplate.

The World Business Angels Investment Forum therefore brought these key parts of the equity market together to debate the benefits and challenges for the angel investment community in achieving successful growth for their businesses and to discuss what more can be done to connect the early stage market ecosystem. Notably we will also be discussing whether there is a need for further regulatory and fiscal changes, as well as how to create better understanding and confidence for angel investors in approaching the public markets.




Video 1:

Early Stage Investment Markets

A comparative analysis between US and EU early stage investment markets
Speaker: Anthony Gardner, US Ambassador to EU, Belgium

Topics: Entrepreneurship, startups,scale ups, SMEs, angel investment,

Article about the session: COMING SOON

Video 2:

Country Perspective: Turkey

Turkey’s engagements with global action plans on easing Access to finance

Speaker:Mehmet Simsek,  the Deputy Prime Minister, Republic of Turkey

Topics: Turkey – Tax Incentives – Crowdfunding – Angel Investment – SMEs – Future Plans

Article about the session:

Around the world, governments are embracing the role business angels, collective investing funds and crowdfunding can play in funding and supporting entrepreneurs. The United States’ long history of enabling entrepreneurship means it comes as no surprise that it is miles ahead of any other nation – an estimated 300,000 business angels invest over US$24 Billion per annum. The UK by contrast has only recently seen exponential growth in the number of business angels, now tallying over 18,000 – up from approximately 4,000 a decade ago. Can other countries emulate this rapid growth?

Early signs from Turkey suggest that this is certainly possible. Most countries face a much different reality to the US or UK, one where business angels are counted in tens or hundreds. Relying on organic growth of business angels is foolish given the importance for entrepreneurs to succeed. Since 2014 Turkey has taken steps to radically improve access to early stage financing. In so doing it has become a beacon of hope and important example to other nations of the role government can play in easing access to finance for SMEs and start-ups.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, HE Mehmet Simsek, shared an oft-overlooked, but vital component that spurred on this journey two years ago. The Turkish government recognised that access to early stage finance is critical for continued economic development and sustaining GDP growth of 5% in Turkey. Recognition and acknowledgement of this need by senior politicians is crucial to creating the political environment for policymakers and government officials to act.

Over the last two years the Turkish government has embarked on three major endeavours to ensure this political will is converted into meaningful improvements and real development – (1) tax incentives have been introduced to increase angel investing; (2) fund of funds structures have been introduced; and (3) legislation is underway to enable crowdfunding.


Tax Incentives

Accredited business angels in Turkey can now deduct 75% of the value of qualifying investments from their personal income tax. As a bonus, for investments into Start-Ups or SMEs that have research and development supported by the public sector, the entire investment amount can be deducted. These incentives mean that business angels can approach investments opportunities with a completely different view of the risk involved. Government has removed the risk of capital loss, making investments more attractive; stimulating growth in business angels and increasing the real number of investments per business angel. HE Mehmet Simsek announced that 353 business angels had already been accredited under this incentive programme by the start of WBAF 2016.


Fund of Funds

Building a diversified portfolio of investments is one of the keys to mitigating risk and increasing capital returns. As an individual business angel, family office or even a venture capital fund it can be challenging to review and select enough investments to establish a portfolio. Syndication between investors is an important tool to encourage more investment activity. To encourage syndication and collective investing Turkey has established fund of fund structures. These funds make it possible for government to deploy capital in partnership with private investors. In the past two years the Turkish government has contributed €120M through these funds with the intention of contributing an additional €84M by the end of 2016.



Globally, crowdfunding continues to grow and has done much to democratise early stage funding. Through crowdfunding it is possible for start-ups and SMEs to secure funds from a global audience. But crowdfunding comes in different shapes and sizes – the four principal forms are donations, products, debt and equity. The first two can, and have, flourished without enabling legislation. Debt-based crowdfunding can generally operate within the constraints of existing policies and legislation. Equity crowdfunding is more complicated. Investor protections are imperative and historical legislation governing public share offers tends to pre-date the internet as we know it today and social media. Equity crowdfunding though, is where real investment happens – to this end HE Mehmet Simsek shared how the Turkish parliament is working on legislation to enable equity crowdfunding in Turkey, putting Turkey at the forefront of nations unlocking equity crowdfunding.


Turkey currently ranks 8th in Europe for ease of access to financing, HE Mehmet Simsek made it clear that the Turkish government wants to break into the top three. With a diverse economy, solid economic growth, proactive government, appealing climate, attractive tax incentives, and enabling policies, local and global investors have many reasons to consider Turkey a serious contender for their investment. While some may be concerned and nervous about geopolitical risks in the region the Turkish government is clearly taking positive steps to make Turkey a stand out country for entrepreneurs and early stage investors. This alone warrants the attention of those wanting to start or invest in the next Uber, Skype or Facebook.

The real beneficiaries of the Turkish government’s actions are Turkey’s Start-Ups and SMEs as access to finance becomes more readily available. Phrases by HE Mehmet Simsek such as “Turkey is open for business” and “we want to lure investors to Turkey” should be music to the ears of Turkish entrepreneurs. Hopefully by WBAF2017 more countries will have followed Turkey’s lead.



Video 3 :

The role of secondary markets in the world early stage investment ecosystem

Intro Speech: Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kemal Yilmaz, Chief Business Development Officer (CBO), Borsa İstanbul, Turkey

Panel Discussion: How can stock exchanges help to create exit strategies for business angels?

Moderator: Assoc. Prof. Mustafa Kemal Yilmaz, Chief Business Development Officer (CBO), Borsa İstanbul, Turkey

Speakers:  Aysegul Eksit, Vice Chairman, Capital Markets Board, Turkey – Carsten Borring, Head of Listings and Capital Market – NASDAQ, Denmark – Luca Peyrano, Head of Continental Europe, Primary Markets, London Stock Exchange Group, Italy – Peter Jungen, Emeritus President EBAN, Germany

Topics: Stock Exchanges – Private Markets for Starups – Filling Equity Gaps – Exits – IPOs – Secondary Markets

Article about the session: COMING SOON

Video 4:

How can chambers of commerces take a more active role to help SMEs raise more fund to expand their businesses?

Panel Discussion: How can chambers of commerces use business angel investment system to support SMEs,entrepreneurs and startups?

Moderator: Anthony Parkes, Director, ICC, France

Speakers:  Abdul Malik Jabaar, President, The Middle East Trade Association for Business Angels, Jordan – Ismail Haznedar, JCI Global President, Turkey – Paulo Andrez, President Emeritus EBAN, Portugal – Rabih Sabra, the Director General of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture of Beirut & Mount Lebanon – Tomi Davies, President, The African Trade Association for Business Angels (ABAN), Nigeria

Topics: Chambers and Commerces – SME Finance – Raising Funds

Article about the session: COMING SOON


Video 5:

What are the roles of banks in the global early stage investment markets?

Intro Speech: Peter E. Braun, EBAN Board Member, Switzerland

Panel Discussion:  How can banks create more liquidity for early stage markets by leading business angel networks?

Moderator: Peter E. Braun, EBAN Board Member, Switzerland

Speakers: Charlotte Ruhe, Director, Small Business Support, EBRD, UK –  Ivar Siimar, President, Estonian Business Angels, Estonia – Prof Savas Alpay, Chief Economist, Islamic Development Bank, Saudi Arabia – Selma Prodanovic, Co-founder, Austrian Angel Investors Association, Austria

Topics: Banks – SME Finance – Business Angel Networks – Risk Mitigation

Article about the session: COMING SOON


Video 6:

How can business angels, governments and private institutions cooperate to raise more funds for startups?

Keynote Speech: Ali Arslan, Director General of Financial Sector Relations & Exchange, The Undersecretariat of Treasury of Turkish Republic, Turkey

Panel Discussion: The role of angel investors in co-investment funds for early stage investment markets

Moderator: Milena Harito, Minister of State for Public Administration and Innovation, Albania

Speakers: Balazs Hendrich, Consul General of Hungary – Dimitris Tsingos, Co-president of Helenic Business Angels, Greece – Michal Cieminski, President, Polish Business Angels, Poland – Ricardo Luz, EBAN Board Member & IFD Board Member, Portugal – Michael Culligan, National Director, Irish Business Angels Network (HBAN), Ireland


Article about the session: COMING SOON


Video 7:

Re-defining public and private partnerships to fund innovation

Intro Speech:  Recep Bicer, Chair, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organisation, Republic of Turkey

Panel Discussion:  High stakes for business angels: Science based high risk / high gain projects

Moderator: Gokce Tabak, COO, Istanbul Technical University Technopark & Acceleration Center, Turkey

Speakers: Tuba Terekli, Director of Riyad Acceleration Center, Saudi Arabia – Yousef Hamidaddin, CEO, Oasis500, Jordan – Axel Kalinowski, Manager, Continental Europe, London Stock Exchange, UK


Article about the session: COMING SOON


Video 8:

Firechat: Learnings from the super angels: Super angels and their succesful exits

Moderator: Dr Recep Bildik, Director, Borsa İstanbul Private Market, Turkey

Speakers:  Ari Korhonen, EBAN Vice President, Finland – Kaushal Chokshi, Founder and President at Scaale Group of Companies, USA – Vitaliy Polekhin, Russian Angel of The Year 2015, Russia

Topics: Super Angels – Serial Entrepreneurs – Early Eaxits
Video 9:

Tokens, trading, and liquidity for all: a vision for early-stage investments in the blockchain era
Speaker: Villu Arak, Cofounder, Funderbeam, Estonia

Topics:Innovative financial instruments

  • Mon Sep 19
  • |

’Today, stock exchanges throughout the world are more keen to open their doors to SMEs’’

Luca Peyrano, CEO of ELITE - London Stock Exchange Group

London Stock Exchange Group proposes a unique programme, ELITE, an integrated service designed to help SMEs prepare and structure for the next stage of growth through access to long term financing opportunities.It targets SMEs with a sound business model, clear growth strategy and a desire to obtain funding in the near future. It now accounts for more than 200 companies of different sizes and sectors, more than 150 partners and more than 70 long term. Enjoy the exclusive interview with Luca Peyrano, Head of Primary Markets Continental Europe, London Stock Exchange Group


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