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Former BFA boss launches funding venture for small businesses

Former chief executive of the British Footwear Association Richard Kottler has launched a new investment venture, Tailwind, to bridge the gap between smaller fashion and footwear businesses and external sources of funding.

Tailwind works with SMEs on a business plan, identifying which sources of funding may be right for them and introducing them to the funders.

So far, Kottler is in contact with angel investors, banks and private equity firms, as well as seven small businesses in the fashion and footwear industry. He declined to name them.

He told Drapers: “For young businesses, finding funding can be a minefield as there are so many options and potential complications. We’ve created a platform where we can work with these small businesses to make sure they are pitch perfect for the funders.”

Kottler, who ran women’s footwear business H&M Rayne from 1990-94, said his experiences in the industry spurred him on to set up Tailwind.

“My own company in the past had involvement from private equity and it was a wonderful thing for the business. There is a missing link in the industry between great businesses and the funds they require to grow further.”

Fees for the Tailwind service are paid through equity rather than cash.

“The fee has to be success related,” Kottler explained. “I would be an investor as well as the external body. If I’m recommending a business, I have to put my money where my mouth is.”

Kottler retired from running the BFA in 2014, after six years.

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