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January Business Breakfast – Discussing what’s next for Bristol Pound

Bristol Pound Business & Individual Members were welcomed to The Waterfront Meeting Rooms on a grey Thursday morning to connect and to talk about the future of Bristol Pound. After a last minute change in venue, we weren’t sure how many people would make it so it was wonderful to see an enthusiastic and diverse range of Bristol Pound members arriving at 8.30! Thanks to all of you who came along. For those who couldn’t make it, below is a brief overview of the events of the morning.

 

After a round of intros, we heard from Diana who explained that the message of a funding crisis was put out well in advance of the potential end date to give people a chance to come forward if they could help and the response has been encouraging – it’s not over yet! But how should Bristol Pound continue if no further funding does come through? Should the currency continue only in paper form? How would this be administered? These were some of the questions to be posed in the workshop section of the morning.

 

Diana then set out the workshop exercise, giving everyone a chance to write down their opinions on how Bristol Pound should move forward and adapt. This was split into 3 areas, each with relevant questions asked, these were; Promotion & Marketing, Practicalities and Conceptual. Ideas that came from each of the areas are listed below.

Special thanks to Ibi for being there to take the wonderful photographs featured in this blog.  See more of her work here (she’s doing 30% off for £B members at the moment!).

Another thank you to those of you who were interviewed for Points West. The story will go out in their Sunday bulletin at 6pm.

 

Promotions & Marketing:

Should we continue to offer Business Member Services?

  • YES, automate membership for all local indy businesses via website registration

How should we keep in touch with traders?

  • Via website and encouragement of business to business communication
  • Social media
  • Networking events
  • Events with the artists who designed the £B notes

What resources are needed?

  • Businesses need to promote £B on their websites etc.
  • Better marketing to both businesses and individuals. Clearer and more simply

Who could fund this?

  • Members – through tiered memberships like the Soil Association model
  • A funding circle

Is a directory of £B businesses needed? Online? App based? Physical directory?

  • Just on the website
  • E- copy on library digital lending
  • A paper version but not full directory

Other ideas…

  • Paper notes are great conversation starters!
  • Sliding scale membership fee?
  • Links with big funding events / bodies.

Practicalities

Should more notes be issued? 

  • Yes!

Should we reprint in 2021?

  • Yes! And have more cashpoints!

Other questions & comments…

  • Cash is a visible means of promoting the scheme (…but it’s not being used)
  • How do you replace the visual prompt that cash offers? A contactless card? Highly visible POS?
  • Paper money it a tool to promote local artists – part of ‘Bristol buzz’ 
  • Paper £Bs are fun to spend, gorgeous to look at and are good ambassadors for the currency
  • They make great gifts for giving to politicians or leaders to show them something about Bristol. Both national and international leaders. 
  • More could be done to promote the paper money eg giving them as change.

Conceptual

 

Is a shop local voucher still worth it?

  • Yes but it would need to expand into a digital format

Does £B still have a purpose?

  • Yes, it’s great for international marketing
  • Notes are symbolic so need to exist if not exchanged
  • Yes, its a strong statement about the culture of a business

Do you support it in principle? 

  • Yes, to support small businesses
  • Business members need to convince their staff it is not a “pain”
  • Definitely an important asset

Is paper money still relevant?

  • Of course paper is still relevant! It’s a wonderful icebreaker. Need to keep it!
  • Only for low value transactions <£B10
  • Not massively, it costs a lot to bank cash and businesses cannot pay bills in cash.

Other thoughts..

  • May need to incorporate a larger area eg regional currency 
  • Must keep digital currency

  • Prepaid card for tourists rather than notes

Other Questions…

  • How many people use £B?
  • How many people actually “get it”? Ie what £B is and why it exists
  • Make more links with global economic change?
  • Politicise £B! It’s a social asset 
  • A small but vital move towards breaking down corporate domination 

Keep an eye out for news of the next event, we’re planning something fun! Sign up to the newsletter to be the first to hear about it 🙂

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