Crowd Funding Comes to Cork

Crowd Funding Comes to Cork

Crowd funding comes to Cork

In the land of no credit, a concept to generate cash flow comes to life

Today Linked Finance, Ireland’s first Crowd Funding initiative, aimed at connecting businesses looking for funding with people looking to invest, unveiled the first confirmed Cork borrower – Ernest Cantillon, owner of Electric Bar & Restaurant and President of the Cork Business Association.  

Ernest is using this innovative approach to funding to help finance his latest business venture- an ice-cream, crepes and bicycle hire kiosk located on the Grand Parade river promenade in Cork city centre.  

The launch, which took place in one of Ernest’s latest ventures, the Fish Bar at Electric, was attended by many well-known Cork business figures keen to learn more about this new and painless way for entrepreneurs to source funds to help grow and sustain their businesses.

Founder of Linked Finance, Peter O’Mahony said: “This concept is new to Ireland, but is a successful method for SME funding in the UK.  It is a simple way to inject cash into supporting small to medium sized enterprises, bypassing the often restrictive and cumbersome banking system and creating a “win” situation for everyone.  Our technology offers businesses access to funds from a large group of real people, including their own customers.  At its heart is the community and based on feedback we have already received from the business community in Cork, we know that Ernest’s project will be the first of many Cork businesses that will benefit, creating jobs and expanding their businesses.”

How Crowd Funding works is simple.  Businesses looking for a loan apply through the website and must submit a detailed business plan and background information on the venture, details on the purpose of the loan, financials and the proposed repayment schedule.  The business is then fully vetted by experienced underwriters who validate all applications before they can be listed on the website.

Potential lenders, who have pre-registered on the site, can participate in an auction process where they bid on how much of the loan they are prepared to fund – from €50 to €2,000 on any one project.  The lender choses the interest rate, (between 5% and 15%,) which makes the investment opportunities attractive to small and big investors alike.  The lowest rate bids are accepted so the borrower secures the best interest rate possible.

Ernest said: “Even though I have a really good relationship with my bank, I decided to go down this route of “crowd funding” with Linked Finance as I like the whole community aspect of the concept and thought it would be a novel way to connect with my customers prospects.  I’m hoping that many of them will take an interest in the new business by investing – and for me the smaller the amount the better.   I’m looking for €10,000, but I’d prefer 200 people leading me €50 each, than five people leading me €2,000 each.  I’ll be paying back the lenders 36 monthly instalments over 3 three years and this gives me 36 reasons to connect with them and they will have a vested interest in the new business.  I will be able to offer special offers and keep them up to date on news and events around the new business.   I think we are going to have a lot of fun with it.  As well as that the investors will get really good returns on their loan – much better than with a traditional bank.”

Linked Finance has some very influential partners and investors including Enterprise Ireland, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Dragon’s Den star Bobby Kerr, Senator Feargal Quinn and businessman and former Worldwide President and CEO of the Ireland Fund, Kingsley Aikins.

Peter concluded: “The aim of Linked Finance is not only to provide investment, but to build strong business relationships, as a company’s lenders become its customers, ambassadors and salespeople. This is the reason why we have attracted so many influential figures who are now investing in a range of businesses through Linked Finance.  The Irish market conditions couldn’t be better right now and I know that success in Ireland will create a superb Launchpad for our ambitious overseas plans.”

For further information on becoming a borrower or lender with Linked Finance visit

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