Stay up to date as Crowdfunder’s CEO, Rob Love, gives his weekly insight on our #PayItForward initiative.

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Update 5 May
2:45pm

Small businesses remain resilient during this period of great uncertainty and must be rewarded. 

This week we are pleased to announce that the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NE LEP) will provide up to £5,000 in match funding to any small business in the local area set-up on Pay it Forward. NE LEP is the third Local Government partnership to join the scheme.

The resilience and ingenuity demonstrated by small businesses during this crisis has been outstanding. It’s the reason why micro and small businesses make up the backbone of our economy and why we must do everything we can to protect them throughout this rough period.

Since going into lockdown much of the hospitality sector has shut up shop. For many, this came right at the beginning of what would be the busier spring season meaning contingency would have been low. Although weeks in lockdown may have been manageable, months are not. Without knowing when lockdown will lift, planning becomes incredibly difficult.

Government loans and grants are welcome, but have been slow to kick-in and in some instances confusing. We know many are frustrated by the speed and ease at which the financial support has been made available. Ultimately businesses want to keep trading, without having to take on debt.

Over the last month, we’ve been in conversation with Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (business led partnerships between local authorities and local businesses) to work out how a platform like Crowdfunder may be able to get funds into the hands of small businesses more quickly. Despite the want and the will, Government bodies are struggling to distribute funding quickly. That is where a platform like Crowdfunder can help.

When lockdown first hit, we set up Pay it Forward to support small businesses to pre-sell goods and services to their customer base through a crowdfunding page. Since, we’ve seen small businesses across the UK take this several steps further. Now, organisations are pivoting their offering, connecting with both new and existing customers and incentivising customers to give now, to secure their purchase later. This has spurred businesses to not just survive this period but adapt.

In a period of incredible insecurity, these businesses remain resilient and must be rewarded. The £5,000 match funding per business from North East Local Enterprise Partnership will be a welcome boost to small businesses. We are proud to be covering the platform and transaction fees for any small business raising cash through Pay it Forward.

To get started and access your match funding, visit: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/pay-it-forward.

Until next week,

Update 29 April
1:00pm

Small businesses can Bounce Back without taking on debt 

The new “Bounce Back” scheme announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak will enable micro and small businesses to apply for loans worth 25% of turnover up to £50,000. The minimum loan is £2,000 and they are interest free for 12 months. No repayments are due in the first year.

We have spoken with and supported thousands of small businesses fighting to survive this period. Above everything, most small businesses want to keep trading. For some, taking on debt is not possible and could stifle their recovery.

On average we find micro and small businesses are looking to secure between £5,000 – £10,000 to cover costs during lockdown. Through Pay it Forward, small businesses have raised on average £8,500 across a two-week period, although we’ve seen several reach over the £10,000 mark, with others in need of much smaller totals such as £2,000. Once raised, the funds are available to the business immediately.

Vital cashflow raised through the scheme is enabling businesses to stay afloat as well as stay connected with their customers. We believe these two factors will ensure small businesses can bounce back more quickly and crucially, without having to take on debt.

So how does it work?

  1. You can set up a Pay it Forward campaign if you are self employed or a small or micro business here: www.Crowdfunder.co.uk/pay-it-forward.
  2. You can pre-sell goods and services and incentivise loyal customers (offering discounts, rewards etc) to buy, at the same time as reaching new customers.
  3. You can set your financial target – the Crowdfunder coaching team is on hand to help you meet it.
  4. Once the target is met, the total sum will be released to you.

 

Top tips

Those small businesses that have been able to shift their goods and services online and incentivise their customer base through future rewards have been able to secure the greatest number of donations. This can be done through financial rewards for customer loyalty such as money-off an upcoming meal post lockdown or feel good rewards such as a customer’s names profiled on a loyalty board. We’ve also seen hundreds of businesses pivot their skills to support people on the front line of the COVID-19 crisis. Money secured through Pay it Forward is enabling them to do this.

So far, 900 small businesses are trading through Pay it Forward. Our coaching team is ready and waiting to help small businesses. We’ve also scrapped fees and are covering transaction charges related to COVID-19 crowdfunding: the scheme is 100% free.

If you have any questions, get in touch.

Until next week,

Rob

Update: 20 April
10:50am

A boost for London’s small businesses – let’s keep them trading.

Today, we are proud to partner with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to launch ‘Pay it Forward London’. We must keep our vibrant capital trading, retaining jobs and promed to bounce back post crisis. 

Our economic recovery is vitally important for the health and wellbeing of our country. The speed at which we can resume business as usual once this is over, will determine the longer-term impact of this crisis.

It is critically important for the largest part of our economy – micro and small businesses – to survive this period of lockdown. Despite the financial support schemes put in place by the Government, many small businesses find they do not qualify for or cannot access grants and they do not want to take on debt when they are unable to trade. For many, it is a matter of days or weeks before they go bust.

From the hundreds of small businesses we are in touch with, they all tell us the same thing: we want to keep trading. This is the only way they can plug cashflow gaps quickly, and maintain a relationship with their customers.

So, how can we keep small businesses trading?

Pay it Forward provides the infrastructure and coaching to enable small businesses to pre-sell goods and services as well as adapt their business by moving events, products and services online. The scheme has been running since mid-March with over 850 small businesses raising £3million to date. Importantly, the money raised through the platform is available to the small businesses quickly and simply.

Today, we are pleased to partner with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan to launch a bespoke Pay it Forward scheme for London. The Mayor of London is directly supporting the Crowdfunder scheme and further supporting the capital’s small businesses through a £1 million investment in the Mayor’s London “growth hub”.

Crowdfunder is providing the service 100% fee-free. Every penny and every pound raised goes to the small business. We are proud to provide this, and recognise every organisation must play a part in tackling this crisis.

If you’re a small business whose livelihood has been turned upside down as a result of COVID-19, we are here to help.

Until next week,

Rob

Update: 14 April
4:45pm

Our actions now will shape the landscape for small businesses for years to come.

In a crisis of this scale, everyone is affected. And everyone can play a part in helping to ensure as individuals, communities and as a country we come through this, together. 

Big businesses and those with deep pockets must play their part, more so than those with less. This responsibility comes through benefiting from profits rewarded in better times. 

Despite this, we’ve seen several high profile business leaders demonstrating that we are far from “in it together”. I believe they will come to regret these early decisions. Actions now will shape the public’s view of businesses and the landscape for years to come. 

There are leaders setting the (new) standard for business. Take John Vincent, Founder of food chain Leon. At the expense of his own entire share value, he has turned the organisation into a food distribution system that supports the nation, for the greater good. The public will reward those that act in the interest of our country. 

At Crowdfunder, we know we have a responsibility. We have pivoted the platform to support:

  • Small businesses to adapt their offer (what they are selling or moving services online for example) and pre-sell goods and services now, for their customers to redeem later;
  • People, charities and organisations raising money for people affected by COVID-19.

Our transaction fees have been dropped and we are paying for the third-party transaction fees ourselves, whilst our entire coaching team are on hand, or free, to help make these projects a success.

From conversations we’ve had, we know small businesses have been hit particularly hard. A fifth are set to go bust within the next couple of weeks. 

Over the past two weeks we have seen over 750 small businesses raise almost £2 million with Pay it Forward. These vital funds will keep those businesses alive. 

Now, we are working with the private sector and Local Government to secure match funding. The platform is in a unique position to join the dots between those with the deepest pockets (big business and Government), those in need (small businesses, charities and individuals crowdfunding for causes) and the general public – our incredible crowd. 

We are committed to doing everything we can to help small businesses stay afloat. We hope you will join us on this journey. 

Until next week, 

Rob

Update: 8 April
10:50am

Pay it Forward. Let’s keep small businesses trading.

Since the UK went into lockdown, we’ve all been faced with extraordinary challenges. Our resilience and ability to work together has never been more important. 

Crowdfunder was established to enable people to tackle society’s challenges through crowdfunding. I’ve never been more sure of the power of us, the crowd, to deliver on this. 

Over the past ten days we have seen greater than 2,000 small businesses sign up to Pay it Forward and raise over one million pounds. These vital funds will keep those businesses alive.

The extraordinary resilience and creativity shown by thousands of small businesses is impressive and must be rewarded. Whether it’s pivoting resource and skills to support the COVID-19 fight, or delivering services and supplies through delivery or online, these restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and venues want to keep trading. 

From our conversations with small businesses they’re concerned that Government grants could take months to filter through and many cannot afford to take on debt. Continuing to trade through Pay it Forward has provided a lifeline for them and all of their staff. 

We are working out how to explode the benefits of this scheme for all small businesses. 

We have the supply – we know small businesses want to keep trading.

We have the infrastructure – the tech, tools and people available to help coach small businesses on how to establish a Pay it Forward campaign. 

We have the demand – we know our crowd are ready to support their local businesses and demand for local goods and services is there. 

Now, we need the multiplier effect. Match funding.

We are calling on the private sector and local authorities that are committed to helping small businesses to consider doing so through match funding on Pay it Forward. 

Releasing match funding through Pay it Forward is the quickest and simplest way to get grants to small businesses across the UK. It’s also an incredibly transparent way to distribute funds. 

If you’re able to support a small business – we can direct you towards one. 

If you’re a small business, we can help you raise funds.

If you’re a local authority or private sector partner – we can amplify your support. 

This model is working. We have an opportunity to create a long-lasting cycle that will not only see communities through the COVID-19 crisis but create a more resilient and sustainable economy. 

We’d love to hear from you.