£120k investment for digital platform

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L-R: Anna Staevska from The FSE Group, Katrina Sukstul, Mark Luxton and Neil Kirkland from GoCollaborate, and Lloyd Brina from the British Business Bank

Cornish digital community engagement platform, GoCollaborate, has secured £120k equity investment from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF), as part of a larger £240k funding round.

The round was led by the FSE Group, the appointed fund manager for CIOSIF, and includes a number of private angel investors, Falmouth University and Coastline Housing. The funding will be used to develop additional features to the application, obtain national presence and a growing market share and recruit an in-house team. It is expected that all new hires will be Cornwall-based.

GoCollaborate is an easy-to-use online platform which enables communities to directly impact the planning and development of their local area. The platform builds on traditional consultation methods by making the engagement process more effective, while saving time and resources.

It can be used for multiple different stages of a consultation process, from initial data-gathering to generating reports, and provides an easy overview of data so that findings and decisions to be fed back to communities.

GoCollaborate was piloted with a range of local Parish Councils including Portreath, Carn Brea, St Keverne and Redruth. These initial engagements resulted in the councils receiving a high level of in-depth qualitative data and being in a better position to act on their communities’ wishes.

Neil Kirkland, CEO and finance director at GoCollaborate, commented: “Engaging with local communities can be extremely challenging for councils or property developers who are tight on time and low on resources. GoCollaborate was created to solve the problem of conversing with groups of people during the pandemic, but it has become much more than that.

“We originally designed the platform to consult on Neighbourhood Development Plans, but we now offer a variety of services which help locals have an impact on sustainable planning, improving community facilities, protecting the environment, enabling affordable housing and revitalising high streets, towns and villages. This funding will give us the ability to grow and develop at a great pace so that we can help even more people have a say in their community.”

Anna Staevska, investment manager at The FSE Group, added: “GoCollaborate is tackling a clear need which to date has not been addressed. The company has strong relationships with others in the housing and planning sectors which, combined with the excellent business model, makes it an impressive business.

“Listening to and acting on the views of local communities is key to sustainable development. We look forward to seeing more councils take advantage of this modern platform, leading to further contracts being established beyond the south west.”

The £40 million Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund provides debt and equity finance from £25k to £2 million to help growing small businesses across the region. It has been established by the British Business Bank in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).