Seeking out new routes for funding

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Technology entrepreneur and alternative financing advocate Barry James is spearheading the launch of the UK’s first national conference on “Crowdfunding.”

Mr James, chief executive of Sheffield software and cloud computing company AngelRevolutions, has joined forces with Hertfordshire Business School to stage the conference at the University of Hertfordshire.

The conference – Crowdfunding: Deep Impact – has attracted top speakers, including entrepreneur and former Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson and Ariadne Capital chief executive Julie Meyer.

It follows on from a highly successful seminar, organised by Mr James and hosted by Barclays Bank, as one of the fringe events at last year’s MADE: The Entrepreneur Festival, in Sheffield.

Crowdfunding typically involves loans of individual sums of £20 to £50 for projects worth a few hundred to a few thousand pounds.

Sometimes the people providing the funding are keen to use the product or service it is being used to develop and are offered the opportunity to own one of the first products or be able to buy at a discount.

“Crowdfunding is in its infancy in the UK. It’s already making a huge impact here and a yet bigger one in the USA,” said Mr James.

“The research is telling us this is just the beginning of something with the potential to become a major force in the economy of the UK, and worldwide.

“David Cameron, and the whole nation, are expecting entrepreneurs to become the engine of change to take us out of recession.

“With the banks in retreat, crowdfunding, and the way we handle and embrace it, could be crucial for the future.

“This will be a landmark event –the first opportunity to explore the full potential to fund UK entrepreneurs and business.”

Crowdfunding: Deep Impact will take place at the University of Hertfordshire on Tuesday, February 26.