Third Space Turns To Crowd Funding to Give Back to the Community

DUBLIN’S not-for-profit community café, Third Space is turning to people power to fund its latest venture.

Third Space, located in Dublin’s Smithfield is a not-for-profit café where people can share and enjoy a cup of coffee with friends and colleagues away from home and work.

Third Space features open space dining, living room and office facilities, decks stuffed with books, and a stand with free newspapers.

The concept is idea is to bring the amenities of home and office together with the spirit of a community centre.

Now the café has turned to Ireland’s first Crowd Funding platform, Linked Finance to seek a business loan of €18,000 to create an outdoor seating area for customers and to open further cafes around the city.

Crowd Funding is a new initiative in Ireland where businesses can apply to have their loans fully funded by members of the public through a new online company called Linked Finance thus bypassing the banking system.

Sean Mullan, owner of Third Space, grew the business from three staff members to the 29 strong force it is today.

“The plan is to refine the model,” he said.  

“Then move towards opening Third Space outlets in other parts of the city both north side and south side. Slowly, three to four stores in total. Smithfield changed a lot aesthetically during the Celtic Tiger but not a whole lot was invested on a societal level. The idea was to provide something for the 5000 plus people living in the area and to foster a sense of community for these locals that just go from home to work each day. Dublin City Council has been very supportive of us and our vision is to open four in total,” he added.

Since it commenced in March 2013 more than half a million euro has been raised by Linked Finance and is ready to be loaned out to businesses in Dublin seeking credit now.

Peter O’Mahony who runs the Laughter Lounge in Dublin set up the company with the backing of prominent businessmen Kingsley Aikins, Bobby Kerr and Feargal Quinn.

“The Third Space is a departure from Ireland’s traditional coffee-shops and we are absolutely delighted they have come on board,” said Peter O’Mahony of Linked Finance.

“At its heart is the community and we know Third Space will be the first of many not for profits that will benefit, creating jobs and expanding their businesses.”

Tom Slattery of Third Space said: “We decided to go down this route of Crowd Funding with Linked Finance because it is such an interesting concept. We felt it was a win win situation and allows us to further build a relationship with our customers . I like the whole community aspect of the concept a lot,” he said.

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.”

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