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23 February 2021

Keep trading with Crowdfund Dorset Business

Crowdfund Dorset Business

In response to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) set up the Crowdfund Dorset Business campaign. The initiative offers micro, small and social enterprise businesses up to £5,000 of match-funding, provided they can raise an equivalent amount from 10 or more supporters.

Developed as part of Crowdfunder UK’s pay-it-forward campaign and with support from Enterprise Nation, the scheme has so far pledged over £36,000 in match-funding to 9 businesses and projects across Dorset. Among them is Weymouth’s Nothe Fort, which raised £5,000 through crowdfunding, matched by Dorset LEP - to make the heritage attraction COVID-19 safe, enabling over 35,000 visitors to safely enjoy the attraction throughout the summer of 2020. 

James Farquharson, Chairman of Nothe Fort said: “Nothe Fort costs a lot to run, even when it is closed. When COVID-19 struck, we were faced with a choice: either shut the fort and use our reserves – enough for about a year – in the hope we could ride-out the pandemic or invest in adaptations to enable the fort to open. We applied to Dorset LEP’s crowdfund campaign and managed to secure the full match-funding of £5,000, which gave us the confidence to make the changes needed to open safely.”

Lorna Carver, Dorset LEP Director said: “While there has been a substantial amount of government funding available to businesses in Dorset throughout the pandemic, there are inevitably businesses and organisations who fall through the cracks or that have been – and continue to be – affected more than others. Along with a range of other business support schemes, we created Crowdfund Dorset Business as an additional opportunity to help local businesses and organisations – from sole traders through to larger SMEs - adapt to the challenges of trading through the pandemic. We have seen how it has made difference to some businesses already, and while restrictions remain in place, we’re sure it can benefit others as well.” 

Other projects that have received funding include Christchurch Seagulls Swimming ClubChaplin’s BarCoda Music Trust and the Dorset Artists Emergency Fund. 

The Crowdfund platform provides great access and support to attract investors and supporters and once eligible applicants have reached 25% of their target, Dorset LEP will commit match-funding of up to £5,000 payable when the target is met.  

Businesses and organisations interested in finding out more should visit our Crowdfund Dorset Business webpage.

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Notes to Editors: 

Additional Assets: 

A summary video of how Crowdfund Dorset Business helped the Nothe Fort is available at http:///www.dorsetlep.co.uk/crowdfunder

Dorset LEP

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership is a business led private and public sector partnership, promoting local economic growth and prosperity. Dorset LEP deliver projects that support and develop infrastructure, housing, skills, enterprise and business growth to achieve long-term economic benefit for all in Dorset. 

For more information visit the Dorset LEP website http://www.dorsetlep.co.uk/

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