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Tech volunteers fight to save a million small businesses in the UK struggling due to COVID-19

savemylocal.org is a free website created by a group of tech volunteers to help local businesses generate much-needed cash flow by selling vouchers for future purchases to their loyal customers.

Millions of small businesses operate with minimal cash reserves. A report from JP Morgan** suggests that small businesses in the US only have enough cash to survive for  27 days (16 days for restaurants). A research project by the University of Sheffield suggests that UK businesses have even less time.

Although government help is becoming available, for many small businesses, it may come too late. Save My Local is a great way to help these small businesses before its too late!

A tweet from entrepreneur Jason Bates inspired Mike Kelly (CEO of Curl.app) to take action and make this idea a reality. Within a week a team of 20+ volunteers had formed and a first version of the product was designed, built, and shipped; with businesses signed up and processing orders.

Save My Local enables small businesses to quickly and easily sell vouchers to their loyal customer base to generate the cash they need to survive during this difficult time. The vouchers, which will be redeemable when the lockdown is over, enable the small business owners to generate some much-needed cash. It is hoped that this approach will prevent millions of small businesses across the country from collapsing due to short term cash flow problems.

The group is currently recruiting small businesses to test this free voucher platform and if successful can scale to meet demand. They have already had requests for collaboration from groups in Australia, Israel and other countries to see if the solution can be shared more broadly.

Alessio Carlisi, founder of Carlisi bar in Liverpool (who have used Save My Local) said,

“We’re so lucky that we’ve had so many of our customers reach out to send us messages of support. Until now, there wasn’t a way they could directly help the business itself. Save My Local is a great incentive that puts cash back into the business and will benefit our customers further down the line.”

David Luck, CEO of Capital on Tap, one of the companies involved in the initiative comments:

‘Over the last few weeks it has been fantastic to see businesses and individuals work together across the UK and support each other in creating initiatives that will aid others during this challenging period for many.

The UK Fintech community in particular has been hard at work getting involved and using both its resources and expertise to support those in need wherever possible. We will be sharing the Save My Local project with our customers so they can use the platform to reach out to their local communities, and try and boost their cash flow through the selling of vouchers.

Small businesses are crucial to our economy and we want to do everything we can to protect them during this incredibly challenging situation. It has been incredible to see initiatives across the country and the rest of the globe emerge during this period supporting local businesses and communities.’

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