Co-ops can find finance and members through crowd-funding platform

Communities can fund new co-operatives and become members through a newly-launched crowd-funding platform.

Communities can fund new co-operatives and become members through a newly- launched-funding platform.

The Microgenius online platform, developed by the Community Shares Unit (CSU), operated by Co-operatives UK and Locality, allows people to invest in share offers and for enterprises to accept funds from new members.

The unit, supported by Department of Communities and Local Government, took on the operation earlier this year after Micogenius had hosted a number of successful share offers for renewable energy schemes in 2012.

Since then, the Community Shares Unit has been developing the website and expanding the platform so it can be used for any community enterprise undertaking a community share offer.

Microgenius is now hosting several community share issues including a community buy-out of a well-known pub in Hebden Bridge, a community-benefit society raising investment for a solar installation on a local school in Hertfordshire, and an enterprise looking to install woodchip boilers to heat a local college in Leicestershire.

Simon Borkin, Programme Leader of the CSU, said: “This is a great step forward for the unit in providing well-rounded support to the market. Microgenius has already demonstrated that it offers a valued tool to assist enterprises in implementing successful share offers.”

“The site has been redesigned so it can actively reduce the workload for societies running share offers, through providing a tailored and secure payment process. Furthermore it offers an easier means to supporters to invest in share offers.”

Enterprises preparing to raise investment through community shares are encouraged to register their interest for using the platform.

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