Georgina Matthews is communications executive at Ethex, a platform that enables individuals to invest money directly into organisations they care about.
We talked to Georgina about how the Ethex model for 'positive investment' can help raise funds for projects with a social purpose.
Through social investment platforms like Ethex, investors can put their money into businesses they believe in and these positive businesses can then find the funding they need to develop and grow. It means people can save and invest in a way that benefits society and finances a more sustainable world. We want positive investing to become mainstream.
Ethex was set up three years ago by social entrepreneur Jamie Hartzell to finance a better and more sustainable world. His vision was to transform the current financial system and make truly ethical, or positive, investment accessible to all, while also building a movement of positive investors in the UK. Shorthand for “ethical exchange”, Ethex is a positive investment and savings platform that makes it easy to make money do good.
Ethex has lists of share and bond offers from community benefit societies (BenComs), co-ops, charities, and social enterprises looking to raise finance from retail investors. These could be organisations looking to finance a new organic farm shop, start a community energy scheme or build affordable housing.
South Staffordshire Community Energy (SSCE) recently launched a share offer (now closed) on Ethex to save lives with solar energy. This is how it works: SSCE will install solar panels on the roof of the local hospital with investment from local people. The hospital reduces its long-term energy costs, which can then be invested in improved hospital services.
The income from the solar panels from the Government Feed-in-Tariff is used to pay back investors, at 4.5% IRR over the 20-year lifetime of the project, and any surplus is invested in a community fund. In turn, this fund supports the work of national charity Beat the Cold to improve the welfare of local residents living in fuel poverty. Et voila, the cycle is broken. That’s positive investment for you!
SSCE has currently raised 79% of their £335,600 target with two weeks to go!
Ethex brings together on one platform the best positive investment and savings products. We list businesses that have a clear social and/or environmental mission at their heart and work in areas like renewable energy, fair trade, social housing, organic farming or microfinance.
I have four:
Crowdfunding can turn great ideas into reality. You can raise finance for your project, as well as awareness and support.
Ensure that the 'good cause' is right for investment and that others buy into your vision and story. The financial returns and the social/environmental returns must be clear to investors.
Make sure your target is realistic and a balance between what you need to raise and what you can expect to raise from your audience.
Get support for what you’re doing and plan a good marketing campaign!
You can learn more about Ethex and the type of projects it helps fundraise for at www.ethex.org.uk.
Photo Credit: (c) Ethex