A 'crowd funding' scheme to fund 100 projects and raise £200,000 for Cornish businesses has been launched

Stephen Gilbert MP, TV star James Strawbridge and leaders from Cornish businesses are supporting the first regionalised funding initiative to fund local ideas, businesses, projects and environmental and educational ventures across Cornwall.

Crowdfunding gives idea makers a platform from which to raise capital and generate support for individual projects. It gives communities and supporters the opportunity to invest in a business, a community project or educational venture in return for rewards.

Crowdfunder MD, Phil Geraghty said: "Crowdfund Cornwall is the first time a county has ever attempted to stimulate enterprise by crowdfunding it's projects. We're excited about the opportunity for Cornwall to grow grass-roots enterprise, create new jobs and lead the UK in this way."

“Statistics suggest Cornwall has the second weakest economy in the Country. There’s 20,000 businesses in Cornwall, and 22% of these turnover less than £50,000. Cornwall also has 51,000 self employed people - one of the highest levels in the Country.

“Research conducted by Crowdfunder suggests that for every project funded, it could create 1.8 jobs. The process of crowdfunding validates ideas and exposes them to a network of people who may be able to help you. That’s why we think Crowdfunding Cornwall has enormous scope to stimulate enterprise.”

Stephen Gilbert MP said: "We welcome ideas that stimulate enterprise and create employment opportunities. It's fantastic that Crowdfund Cornwall is launching from Newquay. It demonstrates that spirit of enterprise and innovation that can be unlocked in Cornwall - and could add real economic value."

Attendees at the launch included Crowdfunder.co.uk Managing Director Phil Geraghty, TV chef and presenter James Strawbridge, founder of Posh Pasties, with wife Holly, and Sian Hill, who is looking to raise 50k – the biggest Crowdfunder project to date.

James Strawbridge said: “If we can find an inventive ways of making business happen in Cornwall, I’m all for it and am excited about Crowdfund Cornwall.”

To date Crowdfund Cornwall has launched 15 projects and raised over £6,469. Enchanted Acres are the first project to successfully reach their target as part of the Crowdfund Cornwall Campaign and raised over £4,000 to provide informative workshops about healthy living. Among the live projects is Holly Hats who is hoping to raise £2,000 to make her business Holly Hats Headwear national.

The Cornwall Yoga Centre is asking for £2,000 to pay for a marketing campaign which will raise awareness the potential Yoga has to provide low cost health care support for vulnerable members of the community.

Businesses, social enterprises and communities can add projects to www.crowdfunder.co.uk and then over 30-45 days raise a target amount via an organised campaign. The platform works on an all or nothing basis - no funds are released unless pre-agreed targets are met.

Funders can individually pledge money to a project and in return receive a reward. Rewards are given in return for pledges and can be anything from a personalised thank you letter to a one-off experience related to the project.

Backed by NESTA and Plymouth University, Crowdfunder is also supported by Enterprise Nation, Cornwall Food and Drink and Business Pulse.