Is crowdfunding right for you?

“Crowdfunding is not a quick and easy solution, but it can be incredibly rewarding” says Paul Hughes, Director of Enterprise Support at Allia.

On Wednesday 17 May, Paul will deliver his insights into crowdfunding for startups, alongside Mike Royston, from crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, Katy Levitt, Senior Analyst at SyndicateRoom and with a case study of the successful campaign run by AmaElla last year.

Business beyond profit

“My role is to lead the Serious Impact programme, supporting aspiring entrepreneurs, current entrepreneurs or scaling SMEs,” says Paul.

Allia has an inherent set of values, directing its services at those who set up ‘a business beyond profit’: “Fundamentally, we work with entrepreneurs who set up businesses not solely for profit, but to achieve a positive impact on people, planet or place.”

Allia Future Business Centre, also has a facility in Peterborough, where innovators are provided with mechanical engineering and product design support and business advice. For example, the Innovation Lab has a drone system that entrepreneurs can loan for trials, without the expense of purchasing a £10,000 drone.

“Ultimately for us, if businesses grow and create more employment, that creates a positive impact on society,” says Paul. “Our impact is creating employment and new businesses, which will then benefit society moving forwards.”

Crowdfunding – not for amateurs

The event on 17 May will focus on ‘Crowdfunding,’ and will help startups better understand the opportunities and risks associated with crowdfunding.

He says: “Crowdfunding is not a single solution for fundraising. It is one of many strategies and it is not right for everybody.”

Crowdfunding uses small amounts of capital from the general public to finance a new business venture. By using social media and websites, campaigns no longer have to rely on traditional sources of finance such as venture capitalists.

“It’s not just a case of throwing something on a website,” warns Paul. “You have to work incredibly hard for people to give you their money and there is no guarantee you will be successful.”

“However, it does allow you to have direct relationships with investors, whether they are large or small – and they will probably have a real interest in your success. For example, they may be farmers themselves and would love the opportunity to help test your product and use it in the future.”

While many are familiar with the concept of crowdfunding, it can be difficult to take those first steps. At Allia Future Business Centre clients receive support to help them decide which platforms might be appropriate, how to prepare and execute a crowdfunding campaign, and plan for the future if they are successful. It is rarely used in early stage development; the strategy is more relevant to a late stage pre-market product, when people are able to recognise the market opportunity being presented.

“Before deciding to take this route, you should attend crowdfunding events or talk to crowdfunding platforms – they will all try to help signpost” advises Paul. “Allia can also help you. If you want to get on a crowdfunding platform we can help direct you to the right one, and make any necessary introductions”

“So while investing in crowdfunding is not for amateurs, it does mean that your friends and family can put in £50 and feel an affinity to your product.”

Thinking about Crowdfunding? Here’s 5 Tips:

  1. It’s not a quick and easy solution – be prepared for hard work.
  2. Attend crowdfunding events and talk to crowdfunding platforms.
  3. Don’t reinvent the wheel – work with those who have been there and done it.
  4. It is a formal fundraising process and should be treated as such. There should be a similar level of respect as when dealing with a professional or corporate investor.
  5. 100% of your money will not come from a crowd – it is a mix and match process, whereby you have a certain level of funding and then top it up.

Want to know more?

Register now for this FREE event, meet the experts and see whether crowdfunding could help launch or grow your venture.


Wednesday 17 May 2017


Allia Future Business Centre, Kings Hedges Road, CB4 2HY


Register online here.


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