WHAT is believed to be the first-ever Scottish crowd funding platform launches today – at the SIE Student Enterprise Summit in Glasgow.
Bloom VC aims to raise £1m funds for new businesses in its first year and support hundreds of fledgling entrepreneurs start up their venture.
Bloom VC – Venture Catalyst – is the brainchild of Amanda Boyle, a successful entrepreneur with a passion for helping businesses to succeed.
Boyle said: ”Business growth is being stifled by the recession and a cautious, risk-averse lending climate.
“Bloom will enable ordinary people with a good idea to raise the money they need to start their own businesses, community or social enterprises, and then will support and mentor them as they grow.”
It’s an ambitious and radical approach to supporting entrepreneurship, but Boyle believes the time is right.
“Crowd funding is not only a worldwide phenomenon, it is the latest evolution in the way new businesses raise their start-up funds,” she explains.
“In the ‘80s, there was VC funding, the ‘90s saw the rise of seed capital as a source of funding, then came angel funding – but the future is crowd funding.
“Bloom is right at the heart of this evolution.”
The Bloom VC crowd funding model is simple: Prospectors (someone with a business idea) will pitch a project on the site, detailing what their idea is, how much money they are looking for, and why.
Patrons (someone willing to support an idea) can then choose to donate as much or as little as they like to projects they like. Each project will have 30, 60 or 90 days to secure the requested amount of funding.
Bloom VC provides the mechanism for people to raise money, through their social networks, and aims to raise £1 million funds in year one, £7.5 million in year two and £12.5 million in year three, supporting around 4,000 projects in the first 36 months.
Fiona Godsman, chief executive of SIE, welcomed the new venture:
“At SIE we help students to become entrepreneurs. We identify young people with innovative early stage ideas and provide them with practical advice and support to help turn their ideas into viable business propositions.
“But it’s hard for these young entrepreneurs without track records to get financial support, which is why Bloom VC is such a fantastic innovation. Not only does it provide them with much needed seed funding, but by doing so, it demonstrates that the business community has faith in their ideas, which gives them the confidence to succeed.”
Bloom VC will not only provide access to alternative sources of funding, but it will also provide an environment to crowd source solutions to problems, seek out mentors and professional advisors. Start ups can tap into the wisdom of the crowd to enjoy virtual and real life peer networking, all friendly, approachable and focused on the same goal… to grow better businesses.
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