Mayor launches crowdfunding scheme and urges Londoners to buy in advance from small businesses

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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is urging Londoners to buy goods and services in advance from small businesses to help them stay afloat during the necessary restrictions to fight the spread of coronavirus.

He has launched a new crowdfunding initiative – called Pay It Forward London – aimed at helping Londoners support businesses which are currently struggling, in industries including hospitality, retail and leisure.

Pay It Forward London is part of a wider package of help the Mayor is offering to small businesses, including the London Growth Hub which is delivering tailored one-to-one advice to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) during the outbreak.

Sadiq Khan said: “Small businesses are facing enormous challenges as a result of the fight against coronavirus – not least a significant drop in their cashflow.

“Londoners value their local independent shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and other small businesses and I’m confident that this goodwill means many will be happy to pay for goods and services now so that they can continue to enjoy them when things get back to normal.

“I’m clear that the economic impact of the outbreak and the restrictions brought in to tackle it will be far-reaching and long-lasting – so I’m determined to do all I can to support the economy over the coming weeks and months.” 

Sadiq has also agreed to invest an additional £1 million into extending business support over the coming 12 months to help companies through the current crisis and period of recovery which will follow.

The scheme, which can be accessed via a dedicated page on London.gov.uk, lets Londoners pay for products or services which will be delivered once businesses return to normal or near-normal operation.

The Crowdfunder platform will deliver the initiative on the Mayor’s behalf and is offering to waive its usual fees and cover transaction costs for SMEs affected by coronavirus. 

The scheme aims to benefit SMEs which sell directly to the public and have a physical presence, such as on a local high street or in a town centre – many of which have had to close their doors in recent weeks and are struggling with cashflow.

CEO of Crowdfunder Rob Love added: "If you're a small business whose livelihood has been turned upside down as a result of COVID-19, we are here to help. The power of Pay it Forward London is to keep small businesses trading, help them think about their recovery, and to put them in a position to bounce back quickly.