British business owners become their own financiers, set to make banksters obsolete
By ECM Plus staff
ECM Plus /London/ +++ So fed up are British business owners with the bankster establishment, their disinterest in lending or supporting the economy that a group of British entrepreneurs, dissatisfied with ‘business-as-usual’, have come together to ‘tear up the rulebook’ and ‘cutting out the middle-men’.
“Necessity is the mother of invention and people don’t come much more inventive than Britain’s entrepreneurs” commented Barry James of Sheffield technology company AngelRevolutions. “But it’s beginning to dawn now that we don’t need banks we just [need] the money, in relatively small amounts, to fuel growth. Crowdfunding has proved itself as a real alternative and now it’s arriving in Britain.”
‘Crowdfunding’ has proved to be both popular and effective in the USA, successfully funding thousands of projects that could not find funding elsewhere and raising many millions of dollars, the organisers assert, adding that often for projects needing US$5,000 or less and sometimes just a few hundred.
Despite clear success in the USA, the organisers said the Financial Services Authority in Britain ‘seem to be at odds with both the Chancellor’s intentions and the opportunities CrowdFunding, and it’s counterpart CrowdInvesting (where shares are on offer) present’. They added that the FSA was ‘threatening to limit the growth of both by restricting participation to what they call ‘sophisiticated investors’ rather than moving, as they have in the USA, to understand and support this important innovation.’
Which is why the FSA’s clumsy moves are being seen to risk extinguishing what is being seen as a glimmer of light at the end of a very dark tunnel, the organisers said, so much so that British small business owners, not normally known as agitators or activists (they’re ordinarily too busy running their businesses) are spontaneously coming together to oppose the moves and promote the innovation.
Sheffield’s MADE festival attracts 3,000 entrepreneurs and businesspeople from across Britain and beyond and this year has attracted a huge ‘fringe’ in the manner of the Edinburgh festival.
According to the organisers, the ‘fire-starter’ fringe event has the dual aim of raising awareness of and access to crowdfunding for British entrepreneurs and opposing the FSA’s moves to ‘take the crowd out of crowdfunding’. It will include a panel of experts from business and academia as well as invitee from local and central government.
“It promises to be a really sparky occasion” commented Anthony Mercer of BLYMI.mobi, one of the organisers. “We’ve invited the FSA to send a representative to participate in the debate but have yet to hear back from them.”