Businesses, aspiring entrepreneurs and inventors have been using crowdfunding platforms to help finance their business for many years – with some even going on to raise millions of pounds.
And while asking for contributions from the general public doesn’t always turn out to be a shining success, it has revolutionised the sometimes limited fundraising options for start-ups and small businesses and has even been used by some big-name firms looking to raise capital.
This includes mobile-first challenger bank Monzo – which raised £1m on Crowdcube ahead of its official launch in 2016, craft brewery Innis & Gunn, which raised £2.4m on Crowdcube in the same year and, in 2011, fellow brewers BrewDog offered crowdfunding shares totalling £2m – or eight per cent of the capital of the company – to raise money.
Here we take a look at seven businesses in the West Midlands which are currently seeking investment.
The crowdfunding projects listed here are currently live and accepting donations, but it is important to conduct your own research into the companies and assess any potential financial risks before getting involved.
Birmingham-based AerosolShield has created a small protective tent which can be deployed in seconds.
It covers the head and shoulders of a patient, forming a physical barrier between them and a carer or medical professional during aerosol-generating procedures such as intubation, nebulisation or CPR.
Mat Campbell-Hill, a senior fellow at the University of Birmingham’s Medical and Dental School, is the company’s co-founder and lead designer.
A group of students at the university is aiming to raise £4,200 specifically to supply 100 of the AerosolShield tents to care homes across Birmingham.
The company secured £250,000 from the Welsh Government last year to support an increase in production of the tents.
Combat Fitness Stoke
The members of Combat Fitness Stoke (CFS) have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £2,000 for some new equipment.
The gym – which is run by Joel and Lisa McManus – was targeted by thieves in April who stole £4,000 worth of equipment, including dumbbells, plates, Olympic bars and weighted vests.
Now members of the gym want to raise funds to replace some of the equipment that was stolen.
Katy Bloor, who started the campaign on GoFundMe, said: “CFS is a family-run business owned by Joel and Lisa McManus who started the gym from nothing, just a handful of keen fitness enthusiasts.
“They don’t just provide gym classes, they have created an amazing and supportive community who just want to lead healthy lives, physically and mentally.
Everyone is truly devastated by this break in, especially as times are hard enough at the moment with gyms being out of bounds during the Covid-19 crisis.”
So far £1,850 has been raised and donations are still being accepted.
The Manor House restaurant in Solihull is hoping to win support for a post-lockdown recovery and try out new products and services.
The town centre tearoom has been a family-run business for 30 years and the owners are looking for £50,000 to keep it going and help it find a buyer.
Food is prepared onsite and served the same day and the owners are looking to expand the menu and create themed evenings such as an Italian night.
Primes of Stafford, Burntwood
Single dad Mark Prime has launched a campaign to raise more than £1,000 to start a business with his 16-year-old daughter, Carrie.
The pair who are both ‘big tea drinkers’ have developed their own blend of fine leaf tea, called Primes of Stafford.
Now the father-and-daughter team wants to develop new blends and products specifically targeted towards children.
Mark said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on everyone’s lives, however, one of the positives to take from all the negativity surrounding the pandemic is that I have had far more quality time to share with Carrie.
“We have done an immense amount of research and have developed our own blend of fine leaf tea, which we would love to share with you and every other tea lover.
“Carrie and I need your help to turn our passion into a sustainable business. If you are able to support us to fulfil our dream with a donation to our fund, we would both be so grateful.”
So far, Primes of Stafford has raised more than £50, but donations are still being accepted on the Crowdfunder Staffordshire website and via Kickstarter.
BusinessLive is your home for business news from around the country – and you can stay in touch with all the latest news through our email alerts.
You can sign up to receive daily morning news bulletins from every region we cover and to weekly email bulletins covering key economic sectors from manufacturing to technology and enterprise. And we’ll send out breaking news alerts for any stories we think you can’t miss.
Visit our email preference centre to sign up to all the latest news from BusinessLive.
Seed Chocolate, Stoke-on-Trent
Chocolate-maker Seed Chocolate is looking to raise £8,000 so it can develop sustainable, eco-friendly packaging.
The Stoke-on-Trent business wants to launch 100 per cent zero waste and biodegradable packaging to match its ‘award-winning, ethical chocolate.’
The company says the design is ready but that it needs a ‘little extra help to get this project over the line’ following a difficult 2020.
The original crowdfunding campaign was launched on Indiegogo – where it managed to raise just under £500.
But donations are still being accepted via the company’s website.
Birmingham-based Raj Sitladin says she is passionate about waxed cotton and has been fascinated from a young age about how the fabric could be turned into something usable and practical.
She wants to create waxed coats for adults, children and animals which can be worn all year round as well as complementing products such as T-shirts, shirts and legwear.
She has set herself a target of £10,000, which will be put towards producing a high volume of wax jackets for women, and will sell the products via Instagram and other third-party retailers.
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
A Staffordshire Moorlands pub has launched a fundraising campaign to help it survive the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, in Longnor near Leek, has raised £130 since it launched in April 2020 – and donations are still being accepted via the Crowdfunder Staffordshire page.
Pub licensee Zoe Crossier said: “The global Covid-19 pandemic has created a very uncertain landscape for millions of British small businesses, which is going to make it very challenging for businesses to survive.
“Please support our business in our journey to be a destination for great pub grub and home from home accommodation. We will be back stronger with all your amazing support.”