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The London Stock Exchange Group’s ELITE programme, which helps prepare small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the support and structure required to access financial capital, added broadband and green-tech firms into its portfolio in early May 2018. The two firms, Connexin Limited and Freschfield, respectively, were part of 11 fast-growing companies to be added.

The ELITE platform has more than 100 UK-based firms that thrive in sectors such as technology, engineering and healthcare, having identified companies that have the ability to scale up their operations. Connexin provides high-speed broadband services through wireless connectivity to residents living in and around Hull. The company has positioned itself as an alternative to traditional landline services and promises to deliver speeds of up to 60 megabits per second (Mbps).

On the other hand, Freschfield is a green technology firm that is focused on creating innovations that help in achieving sustainable energy systems in a building’s exterior. The company has adopted innovative technology in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning and quantum physics to harvest energy and transform how buildings are used and maintained to make them optimal energy management units. The main offering from Freschfield is highly-efficient solar panels that combine these innovative technologies.

The addition of these firms to the ELITE platform was a source of pride for the companies, highlighting the opportunities for ventures with innovative solutions. For Ali Seytanpir, an active investor and researcher into market trends, this new development signalled further opportunities for investment growth.

Understanding ELITE

ELITE is a program for ambitious firms desirous of growth to access capital and support from investors and blue-chip advisors. Additionally, the senior management teams and leaders of these firms have access to a management course delivered by various business schools across the European continent. ELITE was launched to help entrepreneurs access funding options from venture capital firms, private equity funds and institutional investors, traditionally-difficult sources of funding for SMEs. Additionally, the ELITE platform allows these firms to gain visibility and raise their profiles, establish good relationships with potential investors, and learn best practice in management and entrepreneurship.

In identifying Europe as the region to launch the platform, the London Stock Exchange Group was aware of the benefits of fast-growing SMEs to any economy, mainly the creation of high-quality jobs. The group saw it as necessary to nurture these types of firms and support them by offering a place where they could access investors and advisors.

The SMEs selected have a common attribute: they are highly ambitious regarding growth. These include tech companies seeking to introduce innovative solutions and even successful family businesses. All applicants to the platform are thoroughly vetted by the ELITE team, which also requires a commitment fee from the participating companies.

In addition to being a useful resource for entrepreneurs, ELITE is also of benefit to advisers and investors. Advisors can support clients who wish to get admitted to ELITE so that they can learn more about capital markets. For investors, opportunities are present for sponsoring their portfolio companies into the platform to help raise their profile and lay the foundations for the business structure.

A Successful Case Study

One UK company that has seen the benefits of being a part of ELITE is Mumsnet, a networking platform that has improved its strategic mindset after joining in April 2017. Since becoming a part of ELITE, Mumsnet had put more resources into growing its staff through training, recruitment and management, and had a 13 percent growth in its numbers as a result. The platform’s founder, Justine Roberts, commended ELITE for helping her learn a few important action points at every session that helped grow her business.