The Northland Angel Investor Network (NAIN) may be one of the area’s best-kept secrets for potential investors.
Launched in 2013 by the Clay County Economic Development Council, the network is designed to provide funds for startup businesses that often cannot access bank loans or other traditional financing. Equally important, the network offers area investors a lower risk opportunity and the chance to make a difference within the local community.
The Northland-based network is structured with several components that protect investors and increase the odds of positive return. First, the group carefully screens and analyzes applicants. Then, if a business is selected, NAIN works closely with the entrepreneurs to maximize their chance of success.
In simple terms, the process works like this: Rather than a simple “yes” or “no” approval, NAIN evaluates prospects and works with those that are selected in order to improve their odds of success. Selected firms receive guidance from NAIN mentors, greatly improving start-up business’ odds via a mentoring process that has proven successful in other locales.
The EDC helped establish the network as a way to promote local business development and job growth. Small business startups typically have difficulty accessing traditional loans because, by definition, they have no track record or collateral. Without creative funding, they find it difficult or impossible to grow, regardless of their potential. The network is also open to reinvestment in existing companies that want to develop new ideas or reinvent themselves.