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We're relaunching 'Crowdfunder Solent' to match-fund small businesses

11 November 2020

The second Covid-19 lockdown forces small businesses to close their premises once more.

● Micro and small businesses - which make up 98% of the Solent’s economy - have access to match-funding through Crowdfunder Solent to enable them to keep trading.

● Urgent funds are to be distributed to micro and small-businesses in the Solent area through the Crowdfunder Solent campaign.

 

The impact of Covid-19 on micro and small businesses continues to be felt during the second lockdown in November 2020. To ensure these businesses can access essential cash flow now, we have redirected funding from our local growth small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) fund to micro and small businesses through the Crowdfunder Solent scheme.

The Solent Crowdfunder scheme proved highly popular during the spring and summer before lockdown restrictions were lifted. Innovative solutions were found by a wide range of businesses to ensure they were able to trade online, and increase cash flow with commitments of goods and services to customers at a later date.

Geoff Priestley from the Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea said: "We are pleased that Solent LEP has chosen to support us, and our community by match-funding our Crowdfunder, and it is great to see them supporting Live Music through what is the most difficult of times, the extra funds will go a long way to help keeping us going in these difficult times.”

Raz Wright from Trenza Braid Bar in Westquay Shopping Centre Southampton sent the LEP the following message: "I was successful in reaching my target and I received the Solent LEP match-funding - which is amazing! Thank you for your lovely support. Your kindness for me and my business means everything."

The funds have been reviewed and opened up to ensure businesses can apply for money to help them trade throughout lockdown. This might be for an e-commerce enabled website or other costs to help businesses continue to operate.

The Solent area - which includes the Isle of Wight, the two cities of Portsmouth and Southampton, the M27 corridor and the Solent waterway - is home to over 41,000 businesses, 89% of which are micro (1-9 people), and 9.3% are small (10-49 people).

SJ Hunt, Chair of the Solent LEP Business Support Taskforce, said “A rapid response in these continuing challenging times will make the difference between regional businesses staying afloat or going under. Under the first phase of our Crowdfunder project launched during the first nation-wide project, we were able to provide £186k to 84 businesses from as far and wide as the Isle of Wight, the New Forest and Eastleigh. All of these businesses are vital to our local economy and to the community. We're delighted that we are in a position where we can relaunch the Crowdfunder Solent scheme to support even more businesses in these unprecedented and highly challenging times.”


Rob Love, CEO, Crowdfunder said: “Businesses have already faced an extremely challenging time during the first lockdown. We have also seen incredible resilience and small businesses have adapted and pivoted their offerings in order to keep trading. By Crowdfunding and gaining match-funding they can maintain cash flow and stay connected to their customer base which is vital if they are to bounce back quickly once this is all over. The Solent LEP match-funding will take the pressure off of small businesses and enable many to protect their staff and livelihoods. We are ready and able to work with any LEP or Local Authority that is able to do the same.”


How does Crowdfund Solent work?

1. Someone who is self-employed, a micro or small businesses can set-up a Crowdfunder campaign - click here

2. Once set-up the person or business can sell their goods or services, request donations and diversify their offer to engage existing customers and potentially reach new customers as well.

3. The business sets a financial target to meet. Throughout the process, coaching is offered by Crowdfunder to support the person/small business to meet their target.

4. If an application is approved, once the financial target is met match-funding is released from the LEP.

5. The total sum of the money is then released to the person/small business

Click here to find out more.

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