Western Balkans Angel Academy: working on both sides of the equation

Western Balkans Angel Academy is a program dedicated to future regional angel investors. Swiss EP Western Balkans team joined forces with Efino to identify, educate and support the first cohort of local angel investors.

What happened at the Angel Academy so far?

The Academy started on September 10th, and it gathered a group of over 20 investors from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Serbia. The group is quite dedicated and hard working.

As Maria Carolina Romero, one of three experts from Efino who is working with future angel investors, says:

I really like the crowd – we have entrepreneurs, business angel network managers, incubator managers. It is a nice mix. They are all very engaging, active, and proactive audience. Everyone is willing to collaborate, share experiences, and give back. And on top of that people are very nice.

Maria Carolina Romero

During September and October, the group attended five different workshops focusing on different investment strategies and company valuation.

Due Diligence workshop

On October 20th, the group had a fantastic opportunity to attend the Due Diligence hands-on workshop. What makes this workshop different than the other is the “learning by doing” approach.

For a proper Due Diligence process, Swiss EP Western Balkans Investment Facilitator Igor Mad┼żov selected two participating startups from the region linked to Swiss EP partner organizations. Igor helped startups prepare for the process and introduced them to the group of investors.

Due Diligence workshop

During the workshop, the investors, guided by Maria Carolina Romero and Clara Alonso, started the due diligence process from scratch. The entire procedure was dissected and demystified. In the end, who knows, maybe one of the startups will “get an investment.”

The workshop went very smoothly. Both guest entrepreneurs listen and incorporate the feedback trying to provide their best. The investors were very respectful and very organized. The only bad thing was a time constraint. Just when everyone started discussing, we had to interrupt them because we had little time to do that. But I think that in the end, the exercise we performed could give a flavor of what iteration 1 in the Due Diligence process really is.

– Said Maria Carolina Romero after the workshop.

Investment Readiness Bootcamp

At the end of October, Western Balkans Angel Academy hosted another unique event – Investment Readiness Bootcamp for startups. Investment Readiness Bootcamp was an invitation-only event. It gathered 14 startups related to different Partner Organizations that Swiss EP Western Balkans teams are supporting.

This event aimed to “support the other side of the equation.” In other words, if educated investors are on one side, they need educated entrepreneurs on the other side to have a meaningful conversation and hopefully close investment deals.

Investment Readiness Bootcamp

During the intensive five-hour workshop, startups had an opportunity to learn how to approach investors, find them, pitch, and hear a lot of practical and useful advice. Since the event was quite a success, it is possible that we will see more of this Bootcamp in the future.

What is next for the Western Balkans Angel Academy?

We are slowly approaching the end of the Western Balkans Angel Academy. As our investors are gaining knowledge, we can now see that the startups are not falling behind.

In the end of November, we expect to see a Grand Finale of the program – a Pitching event where some of the startups who participated in the Bootcamp and investors will meet. We are looking forward to this event, and we are hoping to see the first investments materialize. But that is another story.

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