Midlands Engine Investment Fund Adviser Q&A: Richard Vernon of Shakespeare Martineau

Richard Vernon

Richard is a legal director at Shakespeare Martineau, a law firm Foresight has worked closely with on a number of MEIF deals.

Tell us about Shakespeare Martineau and your work within D2N2 LEP and the local area.

Shakespeare Martineau is a top 50 law firm, that prides itself on protecting and growing our clients’ businesses through pragmatic advice and market expertise. We are a full service national law firm, with hundreds of people working across the Midlands. We can assist businesses with everything throughout the life of their business, from stat-up, to early stage investment, through to ultimate sale.

Within D2N2 we have worked with a large number of SMEs going through first stage and follow-on investment, both on the company’s side and the funder’s.

What level of business activity and investment are you seeing locally?

Perhaps incredibly, despite the economic and political uncertainty, we have pretty much seen things continue as normal. Many business owners have taken the view that they simply need to get on with it – after all, doing nothing could be just as damaging to a business.

A good business is still a good business even in uncertain times and investors still have money to invest in good businesses.

What opportunities and challenges do you see for local business owners?

The political uncertainty clearly presents a number of challenges for SMEs, from the possibility of tariffs and duties to a possible skills gap brought about by a restricted labour market.

But for the most nimble of businesses, this uncertainty presents great opportunity. The ability to adapt quickly will give SMEs a huge advantage, and enable them to exploit the potential weaknesses of those business that can’t.

What advice would you give to local business owners who are thinking about seeking investment?

Talk to people. Talk to other business owners that have been through it. Talk to mentors. Talk to people in the professional community. You just never know who might be able to introduce you to the right person, the person that gets you and your business.