Enabling this launch will be a conference of the first of its kind in the UK, on 3rd and 4th November 2014 in Bristol for those interested in helping roll out the system nationwide. With the aim to help other places to create a wave of new independent currencies around the UK, Bristol Pound and those involved will be sharing all they have learnt so far.
The development of the Guild of Independent Currencies, with the support of InnovateUK, the UK’s innovation agency, will make it as easy as possible for people to launch and operate their own independent currency: through shared technology, best practice and support. This means that high streets around the country can “take their own economic destiny back into their own hands” as Rob Hopkins from the Totnes Pound explains and support their own traders and keep their spending local.
The Bristol Pound and the Totnes Pound have been piloting an electronic currency that enables customers to order online allowing retailers to accept electronic payments in local currency that they may otherwise be unable to offer. A ‘click and collect’ service brings people into the high street and blends the convenience of online shopping with enjoying the diversity of the high street. With the added ability to incorporate reward programmes and special offers, this local currency tool will be designed to act as a strong marketing and loyalty tool for independent traders and small businesses.
Graham Woodruff, Technical Director of Bristol Pound, who is leading the project said: “The Bristol Pound is showing the potential of electronic local currency to support independent traders and we have been approached by many other towns and cities in the UK and beyond wanting to set-up something similar. This is where the conference of the Guild of Independent Currencies comes in and allows us to share our knowledge and values to help others set-up their own initiatives.”
This opportunity comes through funding from the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board as a result of a SBRI competition called ‘Re-imagining the High Street’.
The funding from the Technology Strategy Board means that the Bristol Pound and the Guild of Independent Currencies can provide an electronic platform for other local currencies, as well as support with new and improved services for customers and traders, in a way that makes local currency a viable proposition to support high streets in towns and cities across the UK.