Community Interest Companies (known as CIC) have been popping up across the UK. Roughly 1 in ever 200 new companies last year was a CIC, making them the fastest growing community oriented enterprise movement in the country.
The purpose of a CIC is to provide benefit to the community or trade with a special purpose rather than simply make a profit. However, they are not subject to the more onerous regulations and limitations that apply to charities. Meaning, a CIC can have commercial nature and can issue shares.
According to the CIC Association the primary core features of any company holding CIC status are:
It’s obvious that crowdfunding can help companies, such as CICs raise funds but the benefits can be much more than financial. The community nature of a CIC means they already have people who care about the company. Through equity crowdfunding they gain dedicated investors and advocates who want the company to succeed and share in that success. Having investors who truly believe in the company can unlock extra support through active customers, vocal supporters or even volunteers.
Most importantly though the organisation is always owned by the community it serves. Owned by the very people who love it, each person who buys a share gets a vote on how the organisation is run.
The campaign aims to save Blipfoto, a company that went into liquidation earlier in the year, by establishing a CIC, buying the assets and keeping the community alive. Find out more here.
Blipfoto has a community of “Blippers” that stretch across all 7 continents in over 150 countries. This is the first time an online community buy-out has taken place – social media users working together to save their community from closure.
“When we were contacted back in October we knew immediately that we had to mount a bid” said Blipfuture Director Ian Stevenson, “We’ve been working feverishly behind the scenes to put everything together for the crowdfunding launch.”
Equity Crowdfunding it not just for limited liability companies. A decision to invest in a company can be more than a pure financial decision it can be about making a difference and backing something you believe in.
What better way to fund a Community Interest Company than from the very community themselves?
Photo credit: Blipfuture