A successful crowdfunding initiative set up by Stirling Council is helping businesses and communities access extra funding to develop their projects.

The Crowdfund Stirling portal has been running for nine months, offering matched funding of up to £2,500 from Stirling Council, as well as providing projects with a digital presence and helping them reach new audiences.

The portal has helped start up two new social enterprises, protect a key tourism and community facility in Killin, deliver a Visual Arts Festival, and supported the creation of over 76 creative workshops in farming, food and drink and textiles that encourage people to visit, stay and spend in Stirling.

Weigh Ahead, Dunblane

Among those to benefit was Rosemary Hunter from Dunblane, who applied for help to set up a ‘zero waste’, plastic-free social enterprise shop which looks to promote sustainable living. The store, called Weigh Ahead, is due to open later this year.

Rosemary said: “I have been very lucky to receive funding from Crowdfund Stirling as part of my overall Crowdfunder total. It will provide a significant boost to my new venture Weigh Ahead on Dunblane High Street.  

“Between the crowdfund itself and the extra funding, it now means I can purchase additional initial kit for the shop that otherwise would have had to wait until the shop was turning a profit. This will provide additional opportunity to bring in additional income streams from opening, as I will have, amongst other things, a coffee grinder and peanut butter and milk maker from day one.  

“If you have a local project you are looking to get off the ground and intend to Crowdfund then I would have no hesitation in suggesting you apply for the funding. It has been a very welcome boost to my new enterprise and I am very grateful for the support.”

Stirling leads the way

Stirling became one of the first local authorities in Scotland to team up with Crowdfunder – the UK’s leading crowdfunding platform.

Crowdfunding is an alternative means of funding that allows individuals to make their ideas a reality and change the world around them by promoting projects and giving away rewards in return for pledges of money.

Any Stirling based-business, local development trust, constituted group, charity, partnership of various groups or a Stirling branch of a national organisation can apply. 

Funding projects across the region 

Others to benefit from the Crowdfund Stirling project so far include:

Gartur Stitch Farm - Helping create a visitor experience where people can participate in experiences, workshops and retreats that explore, through talks, tours and on-line classes, the hands on elements of regenerative farming.

Stirling Photography Festival – Aiming to build on this year’s festival to try and establish Stirling’s Photography event as a key event in the city’s calendar, attracting new audiences and visitors, whilst offering internships to local young people and students in event planning and management.

Weaving with Compassion – A Community Interest Company that aims to help those who are experiencing trauma and loss helping them find a creative and productive way to process their experiences.

More Than A Post Office – Who have secured the community purchase of the local post office and newsagents to provide a range of community and tourism services.

Strathfillan Bike Skills Park – Funding for the feasibility design of a bike skills and mountain biking park in Strathfillan.

Convener of the Finance and Economy Committee, Councillor Margaret Brisley, said: “This innovative and exciting way for groups across Stirling to fund projects has proven to be a great success, helping boost economic growth and delivering significant benefits to communities.

“By becoming one of the first local authorities in Scotland to introduce this alternative means of funding, it underlined Stirling Council’s continued commitment to support businesses and stimulate the local economy.”

Councillor Alison Laurie, Vice-Convener of the Finance and Economy Committee, said: “It is fantastic to see the wide variety of projects in Stirling who are able to reach their goals because of this crowdfunding initiative.

 “Crowdfunding Stirling also encourage digital entrepreneurial skills, allow projects to start faster and give them a digital presence with access to a large network of potential supporters.”