Community benefit society Broadband for the Rural North (or B4RN) has raised £2 million in a bond following its first close on the Triodos crowdfunding platform.
Founded in 1980, Triodos Bank focuses on sustainable banking globally. Triodos Bank is active in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Spain, Germany, and France. It also provides investment management activities in the Netherlands. Triodos Bank co-founded the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a network of 54 sustainable banks.
The investment in B4RN is said to have come from both retail investors and institutional investors including the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation’s social investment fund.
The offer on the Triodos platform is still open with a scheduled close of July 1, 2019. The offer has a £50 minimum investment, with an average investment of £3,300. The bond has targeted raise of £3 million and the interest rate on the seven-year bonds is 4.5% per year.
Investors must note that an investment in B4RN is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The bonds are unquoted securities with a fixed repayment date and although the bonds are transferable, investors should be aware that they may not be able to access their capital during the life of the bond.
The mission of B4RN is to use the funding to help to tackle the problem of slow or non-existent broadband, which is a significant issue in rural UK communities. This investment will enable B4RN to expand its gigabit-capable network and bring its service to more underserved rural communities.
Barry Forde, CEO of B4RN, commented on the success to date and said they are delighted to have raised £2 million through crowdfunding with Triodos.
“Investors from all over the UK have got behind us and will help us to connect more properties, more quickly than we would have usually been able to do. We also see the impact this valuable service has on communities and how it brings them closer together as they are instrumental in helping to ensure the network connection happens. The future of B4RN is very exciting and we hope to reach our overall crowdfunding target, which will help us to significantly grow the network so more people and businesses benefit.”
Dan Hird, head of Corporate Finance at Triodos Bank, added that the investment will enable B4RN to substantially increase its network, to connect more and more houses, businesses, community groups and schools to the best broadband possible in the UK in some of our most rural communities.
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