Dave Hollings, Director of Co-operative and Mutual Solutions, which has advised on over 30 community share issues, suggests top tips for a successful share issue . . .
People understand buying a share in a pub or a shop or a wind turbine. They do not understand buying a share of a service or a piece of intellectual property
Establish whether the community values the asset. Is this something people genuinely feels passionate about or just the hobby horse of one or two people?
Develop a viable business model that shows clearly how the proposed business would make money
Develop a clear story about how the business will work, especially if taking on a failed or failing asset. What is the story of how you will turn it around?
Appoint leaders the community respects and trusts. People in a community know each other and know who is worthy of their trust
The more money you need to raise, the harder it is. Sometimes groups assume the amount needed can be raised without testing the water
People from the community are happy with rates of return between three and eight per cent – less than commercial rates – because they are buying community benefit
Community shares are patient capital. Many people are happy to leave their money in for over a decade