KTN's online platform helps you to make the connections you need

 

The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) has refreshed its online platform to intelligently connect you to relevant events, funding, thought pieces and specialist staff to help your business innovate and grow.

You can discover content using your area of interest, from Digital Creative to transport; from space to health – all major UK economic sectors are covered. Once you have selected your interests, using our intelligent tagging system, we will then display rich and relevant content related to your area, often from surprising sources.

An example might be new satellite technology from the space sector that is applicable in the agri-food sector. KTN-UK.co.uk will help you form these unusual and valuable connections.

All content on the platform has been carefully curated by our team of innovation specialists – not by an automated algorithm – so you can be confident that KTN is connecting you to the most relevant cutting-edge information.

 

The move also marks a closer alignment with our main funder, Innovate UK , with the website branding making a clear visual link. Knowledge Transfer Network is Innovate UK's innovation network partner, and also works with other funders to provide innovation networking services and fulfil our mission to drive UK growth.

We link new ideas and opportunities with expertise, markets and finance through our network of businesses, universities, funders and investors. From agri-food to autonomous systems and from energy to design, KTN combines expertise in all sectors with the ability to cross boundaries. Connecting with KTN can lead to potential partners, horizon-expanding events and innovation insights relevant to your needs.

Visit our people pages to connect directly with expertise in your sector.

Visit the KTN refreshed online platfom here

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Member in the Spotlight: Crowdcube – Innovative crowdfunding website for innovative business

"Crowdfunding is the future of business finance" says Luke Lang, co-founder of Crowdcube – the equity-based crowdfunding platform for start-up and small businesses.

 

Even for innovative technology companies, the task of raising business finance is one of the biggest challenges facing start-up and growing businesses today. The funding gap is even more pronounced in the current economic climate. Despite more information on setting up a business being available to all kinds of businesses online, the age old question of cash remains elusive. Banks may have had to make more money available to lend to SME’s, but this isn’t likely to help those start-ups with great ideas but no assets or attributed profits. Angel investors and other venture capital forums are difficult to get in front of and negotiate a tough deal even when they aren’t being overly cautious. Crowdfunding provides a game changing alternative to solving this persistent problem.

 

Harnessing the power of the crowd

Like _Connect, Crowdcube’s equity based crowdfunding model uses online tools to empower people and communities to collaborate, discuss, and in this case ‘invest’, in great ideas. In many ways it harnesses the same power and collective wisdom of the crowd that other rewards-based crowdfunding sites use to let everyday people to pool their knowledge and money together to back an innovative entrepreneur or business.  

Crowdfunding investment

 

As a result, crowdfunding is set to become an established method of raising cash for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs can showcase their investment opportunity online using a Dragons’ Den style video pitch to attract investment.

This pioneering new way of raising finance challenges conventional funding models by turning ordinary people into ‘armchair dragons’ who can pool small amounts of money (from as little as £10) together with more traditional sophisticated investors, in support of an idea, person or business. In return investors get an equity stake in the business and share in any future successes.

Challenge of raising finance

 

Crowdfunding lends itself to an age old problem of raising finance particularly well.  To some extent little has changed since the 18th century where entrepreneurs with bright ideas went cap in hand to wealthy individuals. Nowadays, innovative start-up enterprises are increasingly looking to find new ways to raise capital. The internet enables them to bypass traditional models of business finance. With so much pent up demand for finance, it’s no surprise that this market-led crowdfunding approach is becoming a popular choice for technology start-up and innovative companies, who seek to find investment from a ‘crowd’ of ordinary people.

Our own website, Crowdcube, is the first of its kind and enables entrepreneurs to promote their investment opportunity and more easily attract and manage investment from friends, family, suppliers, customers and special interest groups and other online communities.

One of the first British businesses to raise equity finance through equity-based crowdfunding is the award-winning bodycare business Bubble & Balm. It recently raised £75,000 on Crowdcube.  Eighty-two investors each contributed between £10 and £7,500 to meet the funding target.  The Fairtrade business will use the investment to develop its product range, increase marketing activity and to meet increasing demand from retailers such as Waitrose, Oxfam, Planet Organic and a growing number of independents.

 

This is a significant moment in the history of small business finance in Britain. The investment market has long-needed democratising and crowdfunding makes it easier for anybody to invest. It will give enterprises a better chance of securing funding and engaging with stakeholders as well as a vital boost to Britain’s economic recovery.

Crowdfunding presents a viable and entirely relevant alternative for small growing tech companies and start-ups.

Crowdcube is free for entrepreneurs to sign up to and showcase their investment opportunity and raise funds for product development, growth or to fund start-up costs. Register your business idea or company at www.crowdcube.com or follow us on Twitter @Crowdcube

 

(Thank you to Luke Lang for this post.)

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