Web wise way to raise cash

Sarah Brown
Sarah Brown
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A NEW initiative that harnesses the power of social media to help entrepreneurs raise funds has paid off for a Sheffield mum.

Becki Jones decided to set up her own business organising parties after people attending events she ran for family and friends told her how much they had enjoyed them and encouraged her to make a career out of it.

She launched Scarlett Parties – named after her daughter – late last year and turned to a new internet-based South Yorkshire business, called Sponduly.com, for help.

Sponduly is the brainchild of Jon Covey and serial entrepreneurs Bob and Sarah Brown.

It aims to use the power of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to help people raise funding for business and charity initiatives and to provide a place where people can network, discuss ideas, answer questions and get support.

“The ethos of Sponduly is if you can’t get a £1,000 loan from the bank, then, through the power of social networking you can find a thousand people that will believe in your idea and pledge £1,” says Sarah Brown.

“This is not about investing or attracting Venture Capitalists and (Business) Angels. Project owners keep 100 per cent ownership and control over their idea. “The project owners can also offer perks and incentives that are unique to each project which can create greater interest.”

Sponduly offered a £500 prize for the business that was the most proactive in using its services – which Becki Jones has won.

“We are really pleased a local Sheffield start up business won,” said Sponduly managing director, Jon Covey.

“We launched the award to give the winner £500 towards their funding target and this has created some really passion from the projects.

“We have been so impressed with the activity from the projects that we have decided to run another £500 competition through February, too.”

Sponduly has already attracted 30 projects, including a photographic business in Gainsborough, a charity that supports vulnerable women and a mobile hairdressing and beauty therapy business that wants to open a salon.