University of warwick science park blog

Cup final success as Tim bows out with award

Photo caption: From left, Carol Bull, Tim Powell, Jane Powell, David Grindrod

A Coventry man who has helped 60 high-tech, start-up companies to secure more than £8 million of angel funding picked up a major award to mark the end of his career.

Tim Powell has run Minerva the University of Warwick Science Park’s Business Angel Network since 2009, giving companies in a variety of sectors, the opportunity to bolster their chances of growth with angel investor backing.

In his wider remit for the Science Park, Tim has mentored and supported hundreds of companies from pre-start stage to mature, established businesses to help them start or develop their growth plans.

Enterprises supported across the Midlands have ranged from innovative scientific and medical devices and technologies to every day apps and digital based services.

Tim, an ardent Coventry City fan – who has followed the club through thick and thin since 1961, was presented with a CCFC cake and was given a send-off by colleagues, investors and businesses he has supported over the years.

And that was followed by him picking up the Outstanding Contribution to business in Coventry and Warwickshire Award at FirstPro 2017, which showcases the region’s outstanding individuals in professional services.

David Grindrod, Chief Operating Officer of the University of Warwick Science Park, helped chart Tim’s career with the Sky Blues’ fortunes – including bowing out with a trip to Wembley!

He said: “With Coventry City 18th in the old First Division, Tim joined Midland Bank and was administration manager of the High Street branch in Coventry, when there were 134 staff.

“By the time 1990 came round, and with CCFC as league cup semi-finalists, he was Business Manager – working with start-ups and SMEs.

“With the Sky Blues as an original member of the Premier League. Midland Bank became HSBC and, in 1995 – with his team 16th in the league – Tim left the Bank to embark on a successful new career as a business consultant assisting young businesses grow which led him in 2002, and with his Sky Blues now in Division One, to join the Science Park to manage one of only three national pilot Investment Readiness programmes.

“Over the next three years Tim created the bedrock of the programme that was a great success engaging with 347 businesses and providing in depth support to 180. From this, 85 jobs were created, a further 192 were safeguarded and 59 were helped to secure over £5 million of funding.

“He later joined AEGF, a West Midlands co-investment venture capital firm, where he worked with Business Angels for the first time, but came back to the Science Park in 2009 (with Coventry City 19th in the Championship) to lead our access to finance and Minerva activities, which he reinvigorated and helped to secure £8.5 million of funding for businesses.

“That brings us today, with League Two beckoning but with a trip to Wembley, and I can say with some confidence that there aren’t many tech based start-up or early stage companies in the region that Tim has not seen, spoken to, known about or reviewed over the last 10 years.

“This is recognition not just of Tim’s networking skills but also the acknowledgement by our friends, associates and partners of the value he has offered to these companies.

“How wonderful that both Tim bowed out with such a wonderful award at the same time that his team picked up a trophy.”

Tim said: “If I’d known when I started out in my career in 1972 that the best years would be the last ten, I probably wouldn’t have rushed into work as quickly as I did!

“I have so much respect for entrepreneurs starting out on their own – it has got to be one of the hardest things you can do – but it’s been a privilege and I have really enjoyed helping people grow or turn their business idea into a flourishing enterprise

“I would like to wish Steve Martin every success as he takes over the helm at Minerva and thank David Grindrod and, before him, David Rowe for allowing me to try something different in the Angel Investment market and for the support I’ve had from the team and my family over the years.

“And finally of course I must also thank the players of Coventry City for a great retirement present.”