Today, Nesta released its 'Rise of Future Finance' report looking closely at the UK's alternative finance market that showed incredible growth of 600% in equity-based crowdfunding in the past 12 months.

Karen Darby, the social entrepreneur and founder of crowdfunding platform CrowdMission, commented:

"The facts are there for all to see. The equity-based crowdfunding marketplace grew by 600% and is worth nearly £30m. It will only grow so it's now about what types of businesses investors can gain equity in that's important. At CrowdMission, ethical investors can now buy equity in businesses that not only make a profit, but also make a difference to society. Government tax breaks for investing in social businesses is a further incentive and as a result, we're anticipating the emergence of thousands more social entrepreneurs, and therefore more investment opportunities.

"The success of crowdfunding has caught the eye of the regulator – rightly so, but any guidelines or decisions made to regulate must still allow all types of people to invest. By adding in stipulations or layers of red tape, the crowd could be lost from crowdfunding. Something which mustn't happen come the day of regulation otherwise the growth of the market will be stunted significantly."

Money - FreeFoto.com

Money – FreeFoto.com

CrowdMission's funding platform allows ordinary people to invest from as little as £10 in return for shares in businesses that benefit society. Current featured businesses on the platform include Power Predictor, which helps governments, businesses and homeowners identify the true potential for renewable energy generation based on actual weather conditions at their specific site. Power Predictor, which has already sold more than 15,000 units world-wide, is looking to raise £250,000 on CrowdMission – (www.crowdmission.com/power-predictor).

Other businesses on CrowdMission at present, include:

• Big Blue Cuddle, an online store for colourful children's clothes which supports children's charities while introducing new brands to the UK market – www.crowdmission.com/big-blue-cuddle

• iPower, which makes energy more affordable by installing fuel cells, which convert gas into electricity as efficiently as an industrial power station – www.crowdmission.com/ipower-energy

To see the full Nesta report on the growth of alternative finance, visit: http://www.nesta.org.uk/publications/rise-future-finance

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