Crowdfunding platform for local businesses and civic projects secures backing from Experian

Latest support for Spacehive helps fund start-up incubator project

The world’s first crowdfunding platform for neighbourhood improvement projects has received support from global information services company Experian. Launched in March 2012 by former Sunday Times journalist Chris Gourlay, Spacehive.com aims to encourage community-improvement and independent business-boosting projects by enabling individual investors and corporates to combine with grant schemes to crowdfund a project. The latest deal sees Experian pledging £100,000 over the course of a year to go towards various pitches on the crowdfunding platform. Set up by the Experian Local Charities Fund, the new grant will be distributed in quarterly competitions, with the first round set to be distributed on January 15. Prior to the launch of the new grant, Experian joined other major corporates including Tesco and Asda in pledging to social community-improvement projects on Spacehive, allocating £7,000 to projects including a new start-up incubator for young entrepreneurs in High Wycombe. The £60,000 project has so far secured over £35,000 from 13 funders on Spacehive and is hoping to achieve the target sum by July 2013, in order to turn an empty shop into a networking and support hub for young local entrepreneurs. Led by the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM), Spacehive is backed by the department of Communities and Local Government, the Big Lottery Fund, UnLtd and a number of private investors. Chris Gourlay, founding director of Spacehive hopes that communities and independent high street businesses will benefit from the Experian-backed platform. He said: “There’s a lot of gloom mongering about the death of the high street but this crowdfunding initiative – fuelled by cash from Experian – has real potential to give them a new lease of life. “This initiative aims to love bomb our high streets with imaginative improvement projects – from pop-up shops and pocket parks to food markets and free WiFi.”

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