First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union

February 16, 2012 13:29 ET

First West Capital Vice President and 2011 Forty Under 40 Winner Robert Napoli Shares Tips for Small and Mid-Size Businesses Seeking Financing

Get to Know Your Lenders, Keep Your Lenders in the Know and Be Prepared

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 16, 2012) - First West Capital vice-president Robert Napoli was recently named as one of Business in Vancouver's Forty Under 40 for 2011. For over 20 years, this prestigious award has celebrated many of British Columbia's most accomplished business entrepreneurs, executives, managers and professionals under the age of 40 in the public, private or non-profit sectors. Each year, 40 winners are selected based on their ability to demonstrate excellence in business judgment, leadership and community involvement.

"I am honored to be named as one of the recipients of the Forty under 40 Award for 2011 by Business in Vancouver," says Napoli. "It is humbling to be recognized alongside so many young, successful leaders and entrepreneurs. It is an honour that I proudly share with my colleagues at First West Capital as they were instrumental in helping me achieve this success."

Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Napoli arrived in Vancouver in 2003 and set about forming a new network of business contacts. With a background as a CA, he moved into financing, specializing in subordinated debt and mezzanine finance for small and mid market companies. Napoli co-founded and is vice-president of First West Capital, a subordinated debt and mezzanine fund, owned by First West Credit Union. In his role, Napoli is responsible for deal origination, execution and portfolio management and together with the First West Capital team, he is focused on building the division into the leading subordinated debt provider in Western Canada for deals in the small and mid-market. First West Capital focuses on providing financing for corporate acquisitions, management buy outs and business growth across all industries.

Moreover, Napoli is well known in the Vancouver capital markets community where he currently serves as the president of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Vancouver Chapter. He is also an adviser to the Accounting Standards Board of Canada on Private Company Accounting Standards. Notably, in both his role at First West Capital and in the community, Napoli has advised numerous clients and businesses and urges anyone looking to secure successful financing for their business to consider the following key pieces of advice:

Get to know your lenders

"Business leaders need to get to know their lenders and finance providers, and build trusted relationships with them," says Napoli. "These are the people to go to when you need advice and need to keep up to date on the ever changing marketplace. I strongly believe that one of the keys to achieving business success is people's ability to treat and utilize their lenders as business advisors, similar to the way board members contribute to an organization."

Keep your lenders in the know

Napoli stresses that business leaders should make a habit of keeping their finance providers well-informed of what's going on with their business. "Making your lenders feel like a trusted partner in your company will engage them and help your cause," says Napoli. "Often times, we are able to provide an outside perspective - one that you may not have considered. Even if business leaders are just thinking of making changes to their business, I would encourage them to use their lenders as a sounding board to flush out their ideas more thoroughly."

Be prepared

"It may seem fairly obvious, but business leaders need to have a well-prepared business plan and be ready to provide their financial projections before they approach any lender for financing," says Napoli. "You want to know your business inside and out so that you are prepared to answer any potential questions that may be thrown your way."

Notably, since launching as a division of First West Credit Union in October 2010, First West Capital has secured 12 deals including four acquisitions, four management/partner buyouts, two refinancing and two expansion deals and in its first year, committing more than $17 million in funding, and exceeding its 2011 targets. Moreover, in the first quarter of the 2012, First West Capital has already authorized five deals.

About the Forty Under 40 Awards

The Forty Under 40 Awards were created to highlight the achievement of exceptional business leaders under the age of 40 who have demonstrated excellence in business judgment, leadership and community contribution in British Columbia. Each year, 40 business entrepreneurs, executives, managers and professionals in public, private or non-profit sectors are recognized. Winners are chosen based on such values as achievement, experience and innovation. For more information, visit biv.com/40under40/.

About First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union offers members the financial strength, comprehensive product selection and extended branch network of a large financial institution while maintaining local brand identities and a unique grassroots approach to service. Led by Launi Skinner, First West is British Columbia's third-largest credit union with $6.2 billion in assets under administration, 167,000 members and 1,300 employees. It operates 37 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial and Valley First brands. For more information on First West Credit Union, visit firstwestcu.ca.

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