Need a Business Loan? Bypass the Banks!, Ireland’s first Crowd Funding initiative, aimed at
connecting businesses looking for funding with people looking to
invest, unveiled the first confirmed Cork borrower – Ernest Cantillon,
owner of Electric Bar & Restaurant and President of the Cork Business

Ernest is using this innovative approach to funding to help finance
his latest business venture- an ice-cream, crepes and bicycle hire
kiosk located on the Grand Parade river promenade in Cork city centre.

The launch, which took place in one of Ernest’s latest ventures, the
Fish Bar at Electric, was attended by many well-known Cork business
figures keen to learn more about this new and painless way for
entrepreneurs to source funds to help grow and sustain their

Founder of Linked Finance, Peter O’Mahony said: “This concept is new
to Ireland, but is a successful method for SME funding in the UK. It
is a simple way to inject cash into supporting small to medium sized
enterprises, bypassing the often restrictive and cumbersome banking
system and creating a “win” situation for everyone. Our technology
offers businesses access to funds from a large group of real people,
including their own customers. At its heart is the community and
based on feedback we have already received from the business community
in Cork, we know that Ernest’s project will be the first of many Cork
businesses that will benefit, creating jobs and expanding their

How Crowd Funding works is simple. Businesses looking for a loan
apply through the website and must submit a
detailed business plan and background information on the venture,
details on the purpose of the loan, financials and the proposed
repayment schedule. The business is then fully vetted by experienced
underwriters who validate all applications before they can be listed
on the website.

Potential lenders, who have pre-registered on the site, can
participate in an auction process where they bid on how much of the
loan they are prepared to fund – from €50 to €2,000 on any one
project. The lender choses the interest rate, (between 5% and 15%,)
which makes the investment opportunities attractive to small and big
investors alike. The lowest rate bids are accepted so the borrower
secures the best interest rate possible.

Ernest said: “Even though I have a really good relationship with my
bank, I decided to go down this route of “crowd funding” with Linked
Finance as I like the whole community aspect of the concept and
thought it would be a novel way to connect with my customers
prospects. I’m hoping that many of them will take an interest in the
new business by investing – and for me the smaller the amount the
better. I’m looking for €10,000, but I’d prefer 200 people leading
me €50 each, than five people leading me €2,000 each. I’ll be paying
back the lenders 36 monthly instalments over 3 three years and this
gives me 36 reasons to connect with them and they will have a vested
interest in the new business. I will be able to offer special offers
and keep them up to date on news and events around the new business.
I think we are going to have a lot of fun with it. As well as that
the investors will get really good returns on their loan – much better
than with a traditional bank.”

Linked Finance has some very influential partners and investors
including Enterprise Ireland, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Dragon’s Den
star Bobby Kerr, Senator Feargal Quinn and businessman and former
Worldwide President and CEO of the Ireland Fund, Kingsley Aikins.

Peter concluded: “The aim of Linked Finance is not only to provide
investment, but to build strong business relationships, as a company’s
lenders become its customers, ambassadors and salespeople. This is the
reason why we have attracted so many influential figures who are now
investing in a range of businesses through Linked Finance. The Irish
market conditions couldn’t be better right now and I know that success
in Ireland will create a superb Launchpad for our ambitious overseas

free pic no repro fee<br />
Conor Healy Cork Chanber and Derek Goggin Blackpool  Pictured as Crowd Funding Comes to Cork, Linked Finance Ireland’s first crowd funding initiative was launched in Cork today at the Fish Bar, Electric<br />
pictures Gerard McCarthy 087 8537228<br />
more info contact  Deirdre Waldron (021) 427 1234

Conor Healy Cork Chanber and Derek Goggin Blackpool Pictured as Crowd Funding Comes to Cork, Linked Finance Ireland’s first crowd funding initiative was launched in Cork Wednesday at the Fish Bar, Electric
Photo: Gerard McCarthy


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