Midlands Engine Investment Fund Adviser Q&A: Kirsty Simmonds of EMW

Kirsty Simmonds

Kirsty works as an adviser at EMW, a law firm Foresight have worked closely with on a number of MEIF deals.

Tell us about EMW and your work within SEMLEP and the local area.

EMW is a law firm which offers the business legal services you would expect to see, but we like to think the way we go about things makes us different. We’re quite young – we celebrated our 25th birthday in 2017. This means we’ve recently gone through the same growing pains as many businesses are facing. Our clients tell us we speak the same language as them and we don’t over-complicate things!

We were first formed in Northampton and being a local advisor very much remains a big part of our business today. Whilst we’ve grown quite a bit and moved around since then, we are still proud to support businesses both locally and further afield.

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

There are lots of interesting businesses in the area, many of which are doing some great, innovative work. I speak to lots of business owners and I see a lot of resilience, despite the political uncertainty. I’m delighted when entrepreneurs ask me about seeking investment funding to grow and take advantage of the opportunities in the current market. There are businesses looking for investment and investors looking for businesses to invest in!

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

Whilst SEMLEP is a wide region, it is in a great position geographically as it is right at the centre of the two traditional research hubs of Oxford and Cambridge. Also, being so close to Birmingham and London, there is a huge amount of talent which will help businesses to innovate and grow. There has also been a great deal of investment into innovation hubs in the area to help support early stage businesses.

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

There is a lot of information and support for businesses seeking investment, and there are lot of experienced people looking to help.

If you’ve not been through this process before then it’s certainly worth seeking advice. We have been through this process many, many times. We understand what needs to be done and can help guide your business in the right direction.

Business owners might also find it useful to attend one of the many locally-held events and seminars focused on getting businesses investor ready – some are run by our experienced lawyers at EMW, but there is a lot out there so make sure you check them out!