Business Angels in Poland in Comparison to Informal Venture Capital Market in European Union
Capital problems are the most important to solve for almost all entrepreneurs, especially for those involved in activity of high level of innovation. The main solution which led to getting a mature innovative firm is a venture capital involvement in form of business angels, venture capital funds or seed funds. A cradle of venture capital market activity is the United States of America, but also in better developed countries in Europe such activity is also flourishing, e.g. in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Scandinavian countries. In other EU countries, especially new members, venture capital market has not as yet been developed, but it is still growing together with the increase of the level of innovation and entrepreneurial activities. Filling up the capital gap in the very start of innovative companies such institutions as incubators, business angels and various kinds of advisors have played a key role. The main, complementary to each other, sources of early stage of venture projects are business angels (informal venture capital): high net worth individuals, senior managers from large companies, or serial entrepreneurs, who invest (on their own or in groups) a small proportion of their own wealth in SMEs, and venture capital firms (formal venture capital): firms which manage fixed life venture capital funds of banks, pension funds and financial institutions, and other investors (wealthy families, corporations). Together with development of business angel market and enforcing their significance as a source of entrepreneurship financing on start-up stage, and overall economy growth, business angel market has gone under some transformations, like a globalization of business angel conception, growing number of successful projects, of mentality in approach to entrepreneurship, and closing relations between venture capital funds and business angels. Informal venture capital market of business angels in Europe is much less developed than institutional one. The biggest number of business angels in Europe acts in three countries: the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Along an increase of a number of business angels and expanding an area of their activity single business angels lave been associated with business angel networks. The number of such networks in Europe systematically rises. In a half of 2005 there were 228 networks with 12 773 business angels in EU. Activity of business angels in Poland has been developed in fact slowly, but lately there is noticed a growth of interest from either entrepreneurs or capital owners. Undoubtedly an increase of business angels and business angel network activities has been caused by Poland access to EU. After 6 months of 2007, according to the data of European Business Angels Network – EBAN, there have acted three business angel networks in Poland, such as:PolBAN. Lewiatan Business Angels, and SilBAN. Together with putting more impact on innovations and possibility of financing such activity from EU funds the networks of business angels have sprouted all over the country.