Crowdfunding: a viable alternative for financing public sector infrastructure?

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02/05/2019

At a time when public sector finances are under ever-increasing pressure, crowdfunding has the potential to offer a new model of finance via an investment-based business model that generates social, environmental and economic returns.

A cross sector team lead by the University of Leeds, and in partnership with Abundance Investments and Local Partnerships, researched the viability of crowdfunding as an alternative source for funding public sector infrastructure. A report was published in April 2019, concluding that the public sector is yet to make the most of the opportunities offered by crowdfunding, and is yet to realise the financial and non-financial benefits it has been shown to generate.

Key findings of the report, which draws from an assessment of six case study projects examining the suitability of crowdfunding for the public sector, are that it:

  • helps to overcome existing knowledge barriers with respect to crowdfunding
  • provides a decision-making tool to demystify the process of utilising crowdfunding as a public body
  • shows how crowdfunding can be utilised to create new forms of civic engagement with local residents and service users
  • presents a new Community Municipal Bond structure.

David Kilduff, Head of Energy, Infrastructure & Government at Walker Morris commented:

“This reports heralds a new chapter in delivering much needed public infrastructure. Ease of access by Councils to a range of competitive finance and the opportunity for local communities and businesses to invest in the future health and economic well-being of their areas is a winning formula. Walker Morris also supports the drive for municipal energy through its links with APSE Energy and I was delighted it had the opportunity to support this Report.”`

An overview of the research and its outcomes can be found here.

Local Authorities are invited to a launch event on 18 June in Leeds, hosted by the University of Leeds, Local Partnerships and Abundance Investment. To register interest please visit financingforsociety.eventbrite.co.uk

For more information please visit Local Partnerships.

 

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