Handover Responsability in FNABA

Francisco Banha handing over the responsability of FNABA to Miguel Rangel Henriques in the presence of Miguel Cruz, President of IAPMEI and the FNABA General Assembly

Francisco Banha handing over the responsability of FNABA to Miguel Rangel Henriques in the presence of Miguel Cruz, President of IAPMEI and the FNABA General Assembly

The Activity and Account Report from FNABA of the accounting year 2014, approved, yesterday in General Assembly was the last I presented as Board Chairman of this Federation.

Thus, it is a good moment to make a reflection about the path walked and the main results reached, but also to think in FNABA’s future that demands us more effort, more talent and more passion.

Looking to the last eight years, what immediately comes to my mind is the comforting sensation of having accomplished what was proposed, mostly taking into account that during these eight years FNABA quickly became a reference Federation, first in Portugal, creating an environment favourable to the creation of Business Angels Associations and to the dynamics of these investors’ activity, then in Europe, through its presence in the Board of EBAN – European Business Angels Network and, finally, in the world, having a place in the Board of WBAA – World Business Angels Association.

The presence of this Federation in EBAN and WBAA prove the acknowledgement of the role that FNABA developed in consolidating the Business Angels movement in Europe, and also the active following it gave in several movements occurring at world level, at the level of financing new businesses at a global scale.

FNABA was born eight years ago, but the business angels’ membership movement in Portugal was born a long time before, in 1999, when, together with a set of businessmen, I founded the first Portuguese Business Angels Club, BAC – Business Angels Club. Since then, several actions were developed with the aim of fostering financing, via informal investors, in the venture capital market in Portugal. This movement was reinforced in 2006, with the creation of several Business Angels Associations, five of which founded FNABA.

FNABA grew, in extremely adverse circumstances, marked by legislation regulations to the business angels’ activity, by strong financial restrictions imposed to institutions and an excess of administrative red tape. Despite this severely adverse context, FNABA managed to reach an impressive performance.

The contribution to the legal recognition of business angels as essential agents inside the Venture Capital sector, the struggle for a juridical and tax framework favourable to the Business Angels activity, the effective involvement in the operationalization of Co-Investment Funds launched by the COMPETE Program (which in the first financing line covered 132 companies, in the amount of 23 million euros invested and over 10 million committed and, in the second financing line, covered 33 companies supported, 11.2 million euro invested and 3.8 million euro committed), were only some of the challenges overcame with success and made FNABA what it is today – a prestige and respected entity, in the country and abroad, representing 16 of the 17 business angels associations existent in Portugal.

This reputation statement was, since the beginning, a strategic objective. This objective was accomplished!

Now other challenges arise. Each year a new bridge was created and brought more weight to the grand responsibility of the future. And, for that, getting to this point, it’s important to take action mostly in these areas:

  • The launch, near the civil society, an institutional massive communication campaign divulging the National Entrepreneurial Ecosystem;
  • Effective support to Business Angels Associations, mostly through a strong professionalization bet;
  • Creation of a Business Angels Network in the Portuguese Diaspora leveraged with the launch of a Co-Investment Fund;
  • Making divulging campaigns in our business angels community near international markets, mostly near those with great Portuguese immigration;
  • Public divulging of all investment operations made by business angels in co-Investment regime with COMPETE Program;
  • Implementation of measures of tax incentives in the State Budget to 2016, for the activity developed by Business Angels.

 

Naturally that all these actions require change to be implemented. But we cannot be afraid of change, once it is a life condition, of individuals and institutions.

The existent culture in FNABA has been characterized by non-acceptance, determination, and persistence. In that sense, I feel that today the time is not of arriving. The results reached by FNABA in the last years should be celebrated as a passage point. So we have to maintain intact our ambition and will of changing.

Today, FNABA is a solid, resilient and trusted Federation. It shall, that way continue being prepared for the next challenges. In this context, and on the side of real actions that are important to do, it’s important to give special attention to the Financing Lines in force, in the scope of the COMPETE Program, and the initiatives that are in action right now aimed to prepare eventual new financing lines under Portugal 2020.

To do that, the cooperation intensification with official entities (State Secretary of Innovation, IAPMEI, Management Agency of COMPETE PROGRAM, PME Investimentos, Caixa Capital, Development Financial Institution), shall continue being one of the main priorities, such as shall be privileged the increasing responsibility of FNABA in the society, namely through increasing the developed activities and initiatives.

In this eight year journey – not very long in time, but deeply enriching – many and several were the travellers that went on it with me. Travellers of several scopes, institutional and private, of different activity sectors, national and beyond frontiers.

All of them, in a way or another, helped a lot ensuring the several steps of the reached success, for having helped dignify the association movement that FNABA represents, giving it dimension and representativeness, strengthening the acting in the field and helping it to improve continuously the service it renders to the business angels community and to the society in general.

Leaders of the 16 Business Angels Associations that make up FNABA

Leaders of the 16 Business Angels Associations that make up FNABA

 

The final thank you note is to all the responsible of the Business Angels Associations which are part of FNABA, to the members of the social bodies of FNABA, and, in particular, to my Board co-workers, Paulo Andrez and Ricardo Luz, for the ongoing commitment in following the objectives of the Federation. So, it’s important, in this last mandate to thank the merit of all that went through with me and thank them the effort developed in favour of the prestige of FNABA.

The times that follow aren’t less demanding, but certainly that the new Board will be up to them.

 

Francisco Banha

Board President of FNABA between February 2007 and February 2015


Licenciado e Mestre em Gestão de Empresas. Presidente da Gesbanha, S.A., especialista em capital de risco e empreendedorismo, investidor particular ("business angels"). Director da EBAN e da WBAA

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