Tech volunteers fight to save a million small businesses in the UK struggling due to COVID-19

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A group of 20+ tech volunteers team up to create savemylocal.org – a free website to help local businesses generate much-needed cash flow during COVID-19. Capital on Tap, one of the fintech company volunteers comments on its launch

  • Non-profit initiative, savemylocal.org has been launched by a number of tech volunteers to enable small businesses to generate cash flow during COVID-19 lockdown
  • The site is free to use and has been built in under a week to support small businesses during this difficult time
  • The site allows loyal customers of small businesses to purchase vouchers to generate cash for these independent companies and has already seen businesses sign up

Over 20 tech volunteers have teamed up together to create savemylocal.org– a free website aimed to help generate much-needed cash flow for small businesses by selling vouchers to its customers online. The site was designed and built in under a week, with businesses signed up and processing orders already.

A tweet from entrepreneur Jason Bates (11:FS, Starling, Monzo) inspired Mike Kelly (CEO of Curl.app) to take action and make the idea of helping small businesses in this tricky period a reality. A call to arms was sent out on social media, and within a week a team of 20+ volunteers had formed, and had already built an initial version of savemylocal.org, with businesses already signed up and processing orders.

With 5.8 million small businesses in the UK (2019), COVID-19 has had a crippling impact not only on the economy, but also on its business owners and employees, where 60% of the nation’s employment is, as well as half the turnover of the UK Private sector. A research project conducted by the University of Sheffield suggests that these small businesses have just weeks to survive with minimal cash reserves, meaning that whilst government help is coming, it will be too late for many of these companies.

Save My Local will enable small businesses to sell vouchers to their loyal customer base quickly and easily, in order to generate cash that will allow them to survive during this difficult time. These vouchers will be redeemable when the lockdown is over and it is hoped that this approach will prevent millions of small businesses across the country from collapsing due to short term cash flow problems.

The group is currently recruiting small businesses to test this free voucher platform and if successful can be scaled to meet demand. They have already had requests for collaboration from groups of businesses in Australia, Israel and other countries to see if the solution can be shared more broadly.

David Luck, CEO of Capital on Tap, one of the companies involved in the initiative comments,

‘Over the last few weeks it has been fantastic to see businesses and individuals work together across the UK and support each other in creating initiatives that will aid others during this challenging period for many.

The UK Fintech community in particular has been hard at work getting involved and using both its resources and expertise to support those in need wherever possible. We will be sharing the Save My Local project with our customers so they can use the platform to reach out to their local communities, and try and boost their cash flow through the selling of vouchers.

Small businesses are crucial to our economy and we want to do everything we can to protect them during this incredibly challenging situation. It has been incredible to see initiatives across the country and the rest of the globe emerge during this period supporting local businesses and communities.’

Alessio Carlisi, founder of Carlisi bar in Liverpool (who have used Save My Local) said,

We’re so lucky that we’ve had so many of our customers reach out to send us messages of support. Until now, there wasn’t a way they could directly help the business itself. Save My Local is a great incentive that puts cash back into the business and will benefit our customers further down the line.”

Frequently asked questions:

  • How does it work?
    • Once a business registers on savemylocal.org, they are setup with a customised landing page where customers can purchase vouchers for products and services which will be supplied later.
    • Save My Local offer marketing support and a dashboard to manage vouchers.
  • What happens if the voucher issuer goes out of business?
    • At present the customer is at risk of their local business going out of business before honouring the voucher. Their voucher purchase is seen as a pledge of support as much as a straightforward transaction. However, Save My Local is working on a solution to provide insurance to customers. This could even include a government-backed insurance scheme, similar to one already underway in Israel, but Save My Local haven’t approached the UK government about this yet.

https://thefintechtimes.com/tech-volunteers-fight-to-save-a-million-small-businesses-in-the-uk-struggling-due-to-covid-19/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tech-volunteers-fight-to-save-a-million-small-businesses-in-the-uk-struggling-due-to-covid-19