Social entrepreneur Karen Darby has launched a new crowdfunding website to challenge banks and venture capitalists and put investment opportunities in the hands of ordinary people. Darby, who made her fortune helping thousands reduce their energy bills through SimplySwitch, has created the world’s first equity crowdfunding platform for social and environmental businesses.
“CrowdMission is all about making money and making a difference. We connect investors to ambitious, high-growth businesses with a social dimension. These businesses could one day be real game-changers and have a truly beneficial effect on the planet”, said Karen Darby.
CrowdMission allows ordinary people to invest from as little as £10 in return for shares in businesses that benefit society. It has set itself a target to help, nurture and support 10,000 social entrepreneurs in the next five years.
However, Darby warns that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is drawing up plans to regulate the crowdfunding industry in April next year, may try to impose rules on who can invest through crowdfunding sites. The FCA has previously seemed keen to restrict crowdfunding sites to deal exclusively with high net worth individuals and those with professional investment experience.
“This fledgling industry needs to stand firm and not accept every rule proposed by the regulator. While crowdfunding is quickly being embraced by both investors and businesses, the ‘nanny state’ stance being taken by the FCA may well smother the crowdfunding model in its infancy. This is something that can’t be allowed to happen.
“We believe there’s not only a new breed of social entrepreneur emerging, but there’s a new breed of investor – ordinary people who want to back good businesses,” says Darby.