If you have been looking in envy at the great and the good of property tycoons relaxing on board a yacht at Mipim this week, soon you could be in their shoes.


James Caan is looking to back a series of entrepreneurs in 2012 as he launches a new venture in which he personally will invest to provide a launch pad for property companies.

Speaking to Property Week at Mipim, Caan said; “We understand there isn’t liquidity in the market for young entrepreneurs to set up businesses themselves but there is a wealth of new business ideas that we can help them to deliver.”

Faisal Butt, managing partner of Hamilton Bradshaw Real Estate, said the company had already invested in two new ventures: 90 North, a shariah-compliant investment vehicle and The Private Office, a luxury residential investment agency, but now he is looking to accelerate investment into new businesses.

The duo will personally be involved in each company they invest in as chairman and/or board members whilst Hamilton Bradshaw Real Estate will also take a share of the business.

Butt said many of the entrepreneurs have a five to seven year exit strategy - which is when they aim to make their first £1m to £2m, what Butt calls the “life-changing event”.

In return budding entrepreneurs will receive an investment boost as well as a mentor in Caan and a team at HBRE to take care of paperwork and VAT issues so that growing the business is a key priority.

They are looking to invest in long-term ideas in both residential and commercial sectors.

Experience and a strong business idea is a key however as Caan explains this isn’t a venture for “someone that woke up this morning and decided to do something different.”

Butt said anyone that saw themselves as a potential entrepreneur needed to follow five top tips given by Caan and Butt:

  • Experience, Experience, Experience

Hamilton Bradshaw wants people with a strong track record,around 10 years experience, and people who are recognised in their industry. However, they also want “that spark” that sets someone apart from the crowd.

  • Work in a team

Not an essential requirement but often a two person business can offer a “ying” to the other’s “yang” and provide a balanced view to investments.

  • Be realistic

The best entrepreneurs are. A pay cheque will not be sent after the first week but at the end of a long period of hard work. Be ready for criticism of your business, a good idea is not always perfect.

  • Use your contacts

Jonathan Hopper of The Private Office met Butt through a mutual contact. It shows you are well connected but also that you know the right people.

  • You don’t have to be a pitching wizard to get the backing of Caan.

Have confidence in yourself, your idea and be yourself. Hamilton Bradshaw will coach you through the pitching process before you have to face Caan.

More details can be found on the Hamilton Bradshaw Real Estate website.