Over centuries, Cornish innovation has led progress across many industries, from mining, steam travel, international communications, to more recently climate change technologies and innovative finance.
Visitors might see Cornwall as an idyllic holiday destination, a place for recreation, relaxation, and sun-filled family memories. But the real Cornwall is a place of hard work, entrepreneurialism, and the birthplace of many world-changing ideas.
The county’s history is rich with practical, problem solving innovation. Most famously, Cornish deep hard rock mining expertise which was exported all around the world, and the birth of the high-pressure steam engine which paved the way for the British-led steam railway revolution thanks to Cornishman Richard Trevithick, who many regard as the real father of the steam railways.
The Cornwall of today is no different. The deeply ingrained trait of practical problem solving and innovation runs strong, with emerging climate change technologies and an innovative finance sector as modern-day examples.
FOLK2FOLK is a national company born, bred and headquartered in Cornwall and is continuing this heritage of innovation by exporting financial solutions beyond Cornwall’s borders across regional Britain.
FOLK2FOLK was founded in 2013 to help resolve the lack of available finance for businesses in Cornwall. The company quickly realised this problem was common across the entire country, for businesses located in the more sparsely populated and rural regions. Economic inequality was evident, with businesses in large conurbations enjoying much easier access to finance, with investments all too often being directed to London or other large cities. Motivated by a desire to help redress this imbalance, FOLK2FOLK expanded out from its base in Cornwall to spearhead a lending movement across regional Britain.
Today, FOLK2FOLK occupies a unique space within the UK’s finance sector because of its niche focus on helping businesses in regional Britain grow, develop, and diversify. FOLK2FOLK’s secured loans are funded by individuals and institutions. With more than £420M invested via the platform, and with no investor capital losses to date, FOLK2FOLK and its investors have helped transform the futures of small businesses it has supported. There is a growing cohort of investors who are committed to helping tackle climate change through investment and FOLK2FOLK has supported a range of renewable energy projects including wind, solar and biomass energy.
In many ways, renewable energy, emerging climate change technologies and green infrastructure have been the preserve of larger businesses with greater access to finance and resources, but FOLK2FOLK’s innovative business model allows smaller businesses across regional Britain to obtain finance to participate in this important arena. Similarly, eco-investment or green investing are no longer the preserve of larger investors, via FOLK2FOLK investors can support the green revolution by selecting investment opportunities in renewable energy and low carbon projects as they become available on the platform.
It may seem like a small thing, but if smaller operators and investors can participate in supporting renewable energy and other green projects, then that adds up to a big deal. A simple yet effective solution continuing the long tradition of Cornish innovation.
FOLK2FOLK offers secured business loans from £100k and investment opportunities at 6.5% p.a. Min. investment is £20k. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN720867). Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future trend. Capital at risk. No FSCS.
This article originally appeared in the G7 edition of Business Cornwall, June 2021.