SOLENT LEP FIRST TO RELEASE £600,000 TO MICRO AND SMALL BUSINESSES THROUGH ‘PAY IT FORWARD’

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Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is the first LEP in the country to immediately release urgent funds to be distributed to micro and small businesses in the Solent area through the Pay it Forward campaign via Crowdfunder.

The impact of COVID-19 on micro and small businesses has been immediate. To ensure these businesses can access essential cash flow now, the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is redirecting £600,000 from its local growth SME fund to micro and small businesses through Crowdfunder’s Pay it Forward campaign.

Crowdfunder and Enterprise Nation have set up Pay it Forward to enable the self-employed, micro and small businesses to keep trading by pre-selling their goods or services and incentivising customers to buy now ensuring a continuous cash flow and enabling them to stay connected to their customers. In one week, the Pay it Forward campaign has raised £380,000 by 320 businesses through donations from 9,000 people.

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The Solent area – which includes the Isle of Wight, the 2 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).

Anne-Marie Mountifield, CEO Solent Local Enterprise Partnership said:

“Following an extraordinary board meeting last week, the LEP Board agreed the immediate release of £600,000 to Crowdfunder’s Pay it Forward with more available if the demand is there. We are taking action to provide immediate access to emergency funding now to ensure that a rapid response in these challenging times will make the difference between businesses staying afloat or going under.

“We’re looking for the local community to back their businesses and for every £1 put in, the LEP will do the same – up to a maximum of £2,000 per micro business and £5,000 per small business. These businesses and leaders are vital to our local economy and the lifeblood of communities. We will do everything we can to protect them and enable them to bounce back.”

Rob Love, CEO, Crowdfunder said:

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“Businesses are telling us they need to keep trading or will go bust. That’s why we’ve set up Pay it Forward – micro and small businesses as well as the self-employed can pre-sell goods and services and incentivize customers to buy now. It enables them to 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.”

Emma Jones, founder of small business support network, Enterprise Nation, said:

“This is pulling together like nothing else. By using the Pay it Forward initiative, local authorities like Solent can add another level of security and speed to their fiscal support for important, local ventures that would otherwise be under threat. By doing this they are safeguarding their own communities and retaining important services that people will be able to go back to once this crisis is over. Not all businesses will be able to withstand taking on extra debt via the CBILS, but with local authorities match-funding customer support, this could be a compelling solution.”

How does Pay it Forward work?

  1. Someone who is self-employed, a micro or small businesses can set-up a Pay it Forward campaign by visiting https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/funds/crowdfund-solent
  2. Once set-up the person or business can pre-sell their goods or services 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 provided by Crowdfunder to support the person/small business to meet their target.
  4. 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

 

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