DigiPay4Growth Bristol

The Bristol Pound is the UK’s first city wide local currency, the first to have electronic accounts managed by a regulated financial institution, and the first that can be used to pay some local taxes. See ,

The Bristol Prospects scheme

To strengthen the Bristol Pound’s impact on the regional economy and to make the Bristol Pound more sustainable, the Bristol Pound team joined the Digipay4Growth consortium.

The Prospects Network is promoting a scheme to help small and medium sized companies in the Bristol region who either have excess capacity and want to make new sales, or need the provision of easily accessible and low cost credit. These two groups of businesses will be bought together in the Bristol Prospects network and will offer each other ‘mutual credit’ according to the Social Trade Credit model.

This is an extension of the normal commercial practice of companies offering each other credit to facilitate sales. The advantage here is that the inherent risk in this practice is ‘mutualised’ between all the members of the network. In addition, there is a ‘currency’ called Prospects that enables members to trade with each other. This currency ‘matures’ and reverts to sterling after a pre-arranged number of days (60 or 180 days).

Members are issued with Prospects in two ways:

  • They provide evidence of a bona-fide invoice issued to Bristol City Council (invoice-based credit) or
  • They apply for a Prospects’ facility and are credit checked in the normal way by the Bristol Credit Union (capacity based credit).

Results this far:

  • Involvement of the City Council to spend through the system , for instance by ring fencing cash for the Stability/Guarantee Fund.
  • Final role definition of the financial institution , Bristol Credit Union. They will be involved in the credit assessment of the capacity backed loans.
  • The detailed terms and conditions are available for the scheme.
  • Promotion materials have been made
  • Technical pilot with the use of Cyclos 4.4 to test whether the technicalities are in order before the official launch
  • Legal issues resolved and consent by the financial authorities