This is your chance to get your hands on some serious cash to make your business take off through the Bank of Scotland Corporate and PropertyWeek £30m Search for Property Entrepreneurs.
The brightest property talents in the country are invited to compete for packages worth up to £10m each. The millions will be awarded to three property entrepreneurs from three regions – the south and Wales, the Midlands and East Anglia, and Scotland and the north –whom our judges believe have what it takes to be the stuff that headlines are made of. The prizes come free of interest for three years, which could save each winner around £1.5m.
This revolutionary competition is the largest investment in real estate promotion by any bank and follows a highly successful model pioneered by the bank last year for the wider business world with The Sunday Times.
Are you full of entrepreneurial spirit? Maybe you have groundbreaking plans, but need the cash to make them a reality? Perhaps you believe you are the next Nick Leslau or Kevin McCabe? If you have what it takes, then we have the money to make your dreams come true. As well as the three £10m prizes, one overall national winner will receive four days of mentoring from chairman of judges Nick Leslau.
Winning up to £10m in the Bank of Scotland Corporate £30m Search for Property Entrepreneurs could give you an essential leg-up. The global credit crunch has made banks more cautious about lending on property, and many have withdrawn from the sector altogether.
In its last announcement on the allocation of commercial lending, last September, the Bank of England announced that 15.5% of all commercial lending had gone into property, the highest percentage since the early 1990s. This rampant lending has made way now for a much thriftier scene.
Although large banks such as HBOS are still lending on property, getting your hands on the money you need to make your business fly has become much more difficult.
The three regional winners can use up to £10m to finance one or more property deals. Up to £5m of the funding can be used to finance existing debt. Winners have 18 months to agree a deal and draw down the funding. Fifteen finalists – five per region – will be given free independent legal advice up to the value of £10,000, provided by Dundas & Wilson. Nick Robinson, managing director, real estate, at Bank of Scotland Corporate, says:
‘This is an ideal opportunity for us to leverage business with a number of new prospects.’ Peter Cummings, chief executive of Bank of Scotland Corporate, explains the bank’s approach to entrepreneurship in a more difficult market: ‘Some people look as though they are losing their nerve – beginning to panic, even – in today’s testing real estate environment. Not us. Our many partners in the property sector know that we are through the-cycle lenders and investors.
‘Real estate has proved a successful sector because, over the years, we’ve taken care to align ourselves with entrepreneurs and developers who have exactly the right mix of robust ambition and careful temperament that’s really required in this arena.
‘The current turbulent conditions offer a new range of opportunities.
'These won’t be of much interest to short-term, speculative investors. But they will excite those entrepreneurs and investors with a long-term vision.’
Edward Wojakovski, group chief executive of Tonstate and one of the judges for the south and Wales region, says he will be looking for an entrepreneur with ‘an intrinsically honest mind, focused astuteness in approach and the ability to calculate risk and evaluate reward’. ‘Knowing how to see the “wood from the trees”,’ is another attribute he expects in potential winners.
Graham Stanley, executive director of Moorfield and another judge for the south and Wales region, says: ‘Any successful entrant would need a detailed understanding of the dynamics of the occupational property market –tenant demand, impact of the underlying economy, supply, product and rents.
‘They would need a similar understanding of the investment market – the impact of the pricing of other investment assets and interest rates on property yields.
‘This would involve understanding the benefits and disadvantages of using bank debt to fund transactions, awareness of the cyclical nature of both the occupational and investment markets, and the ability to build external working relationships to source product, equity and bank finance.’
In the coming months, PropertyWeek will bring you monthly features giving you essential information and advice on entrepreneurial issues in our new ‘People’ section, from starting out in a tough market to how to make the perfect business pitch.
The regional and national awards ceremonies, to be held in the autumn, will provide shortlisted entrants with excellent networking opportunities.
The Bank of Scotland Corporate £30m Search for Property Entrepreneurs will be one of the biggest property talking points of 2008.