Crowdfund North East LEP: Flintlab

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership has partnered with Crowdfunder to make up to £5,000 in match funding available to help small businesses continue to trade through the coronavirus pandemic.

Crowdfund North East LEP allows small businesses employing no more than 10 full-time equivalent employees to secure match funding to boost their own crowdfunding efforts.

There are 45,800 eligible small businesses across the North East and many are in urgent need of financial support. The funds released by North East LEP will provide urgent relief for those businesses most in need who do not qualify for other government funding schemes. The match funding is being sourced from the North East Investment Fund and will total up to £1 million.

Below is a case study of Flintlab – coworking and office space in Gosforth, Newcastle – that has benefited from Crowdfund North East LEP.

To find out more about Crowdfund North East LEP, raise funds for your business, or donate to a small business in need, please click here.

Please introduce yourself, your company, and tell us why you fundraised through Crowdfunder.

Hello I’m Paul Alderson, founder of Flintlab. Flintlab opened in Gosforth 18 months ago to provide an affordable and flexible place to work. It soon became a hub of local, independent businesses and we even won an award.

When Coronavirus hit we had to close our doors. We’re now ready to re-open having made changes to the space already, including removing desks, adjusting layouts to enable social distancing, and installing sanitisation stations throughout the building.

But we need to go further to prepare for the future. The crowdfunded support will make it possible for us to create a more contactless entrance and exit, develop our desks into ‘pods’ to enable video meetings without disturbing co-workers, and improve our outdoor space for more year-round use.

How easy was it to set up your crowdfunding campaign and apply for the North East LEP’s match funding?

Setting up a crowdfunder can be done quickly but it’s worth investing some time. After all you’re asking for pledges from supporters who might not know you to ensure you can serve them in the future. We took time to ensure we had the right messages, supporting images, and rewards to offer a good range to encourage our customers to pledge.

With the crowdfunder ready to launch we applied for the North East LEP’s match funding through the form in crowdfunder. As we had all the content already in our campaign applying was really easy and only took a few minutes. Knowing that we had the LEP on board early after launching helped us to drive the campaign forward.

What difference will the match funding from the North East LEP make

The match funding will make a huge difference. As a coworking space, we’re here to support our local business community. Pledges from our supporters will help to cover our costs in the short term and allow some minor improvements. The North East LEP match funding provides a huge boost for us to be able to make changes which will impact the space and provide our current – and new – coworkers with the confidence to come back to Flintlab.

Would you encourage other businesses to start their own crowdfunding campaign using Crowdfund North East LEP?

Without hesitation. Every business can benefit and with the proper consideration and planning, crowdfunding can be an exciting project for both your business and your customers. It’s a great way to show everyone that you’re committed to driving your business forward – and that they can play an important role in supporting your business.

You can visit Flintlab’s crowdfunder page by clicking here.

Crowdfund North East LEP: Heatherslaw Light Railway Company

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership has partnered with Crowdfunder to make up to £5,000 in match funding available to help small businesses continue to trade through the coronavirus pandemic.

Crowdfund North East LEP allows small businesses employing no more than 10 full-time equivalent employees to secure match funding to boost their own crowdfunding efforts.

There are 45,800 eligible small businesses across the North East and many are in urgent need of financial support. The funds released by North East LEP will provide urgent relief for those businesses most in need who do not qualify for other government funding schemes. The match funding is being sourced from the North East Investment Fund and will total up to £1 million.

Below is a case study of Heatherslaw Light Railway Company – a narrow gauge steam railway tourist attraction based in North Northumberland – who have benefited from Crowdfund North East LEP.

To find out more about Crowdfund North East LEP, raise funds for your business, or donate to a small business in need, please click here.

Please introduce yourself, your company, and tell us why you’re fundraising through Crowdfunder.

“I’m Darrell Smith and I’m the finance director of Heatherslaw Light Railway Company, a narrow gauge steam railway tourist attraction based just over the River Till from the Heatherslaw Cornmill in North Northumberland.

“We’re a family business; my father started the company 30 years ago. We employ five full-time members of staff and some seasonal workers too.

“As a seasonal business, we rely on the busy spring/summer period to carry us through the winter. Having been told we can’t open, we’re left with a hole in our revenue. Despite receiving grant funding from the Local Authority under the business rate relief scheme, as well as participating in the Government backed COVID-19 guaranteed loan scheme, our business would have struggled to survive without using Crowdfunder.”

How easy was it to set up your crowdfunding campaign and apply for the North East LEP’s match funding?

“It was great, refreshingly clear and easy. It’s a really good platform and very easy to get your message across.”

What difference will the match funding from the North East LEP make

“It gives us two-three months of covering costs until we can open again. It’ll be the difference between exceeding the overdraft limit, and not. It will also help us manage the lower visitor numbers we’re expecting due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Over the winter we have a lot of statutory maintenance works to carry out in preparation of opening in the spring/summer, where we make our revenue.

“As a key attraction for the local area, we attract over 30,000 visitors to the estate, which helps to supports jobs in other local businesses.

“The response to the Crowdfunder has been amazing. Someone donated £400 anonymously and another person donated £500 to have his daughter’s name put on a carriage.”

Would you encourage other businesses to start their own crowdfunding campaign using Crowdfund North East LEP?

“It depends on the businesses, but as long as you meet the criteria and have goodwill amongst your customers then yes, why wouldn’t you? If you’re providing something people value, it’s the ideal platform. It’s very easy to set up.”