Meet the MD: Jackie Waring, Investing Women Angels Ltd

Meet the MD: Jackie Waring, Investing Women Angels Ltd

As CEO of Investing Women Angels Ltd Jackie Waring works with female angel investors to encourage growth in some of Scotland's most innovative companies. She took some time out of her day to tell BQ a little more.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

CEO of Investing Women Angels Ltd, leading the growth of our female angel group, attracting more female angel investors to back Scotland’s most innovative growth companies, while encouraging more women entrepreneurs, who are seeking funds, advice and support, to go for growth.

What is it the company does?

Our female angel group looks for opportunities to invest in growth companies in Scotland, and secondly we support and encourage female entrepreneurs involved in start-up and young-growth enterprises.

One side of the business is educational, raising awareness of the angel investment process through a number of events which are aimed at women who could be active in this arena. These are intended to inform potential angels about how they can get involved and provide information on how to become an angel investor.

Other programmes bring together angels from the group with entrepreneurs, giving advice on how to best pitch their business for potential investment, encourages business owners to to look at how they can grow and scale their companies, asks if investment is right for them, and explains the ins-and-outs of the process.

Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

Between 1990-2000 I was chief executive of the Gordon Enterprise Trust in the north east of Scotland, a business enterpriseeconomic development agency and where a lot of the inspiration for Investing Women came from. I learned a lot from a very dynamic board and grew the organisation sizably in those 10 years.

Then I ran a spin-out company from the academic sector in Dunfermline for three years and with a team of 50 turned that business around.

In 2002 I set up my own business in leadership development and was later invited by UK Government to be a part time policy adviser or women’s enterprise and access to finance and that is where some of the seeds for Investing Women were first sown as I realised how few women were involved in the equity arena.

In 2013 I established Investing Women which became active as an investment group last year.


What do you believe makes a great leader?

Surrounding yourself with people who are better than you, not having too big an ego, great resilience, and having a vision and getting other people to buy in to that vision.


What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

The same as any new start business – building a team with limited resources. Getting traction in what you are doing without extensive resource and building that in to a more commercial model is a challenge for us all.

How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I signed up with a personal trainer at the gym recently and that’s helping, but making sure that you do make time for family and friends. We are very outdoors and do lots of water sports activities, including canoeing.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a journalist but that path changed along the way.


Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?
People or situations where people can’t see the bigger picture with everybody pulling together. It is very true at Investing Women that we have a brilliantly talented group of women who are genuinely working together as a team for the big vision and are focussed on where we want to go. I think that is easier when you are a small organisation, but it becomes more challenging as the business gets bigger and you have to keep focussed on that vision, otherwise people can tend to focus on what is just about ‘them’ and not where you need to go as an organisation.


Where do you see the company in five years’ time?

In five years’ time we would like to have equalled the US in terms of the level of active female angels. In real terms what would mean in Scotland that 1 in 4 angel investors would be women, whereas now we have about 1 in 20. This does not have to be in our own group but could be in having helped around 300 women to have become involved in this angel investor community. We would like to be active across the UK and doing a lot more in term of education and events, both for entrepreneurs and angels, and we aspirations for a global network of women creating a fund for women by women.

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Hang on to the vision, don’t let ‘NO’ stop you but be flexible on how you get there, you might have to change course.