By Maximilian Clarke

As small firms across the country struggle to meet cashflow demands, Bristol businesses are taking matters into their own hands by launching their own currency.

Pegged 1:1 with sterling, the Bristol Pound is designed to ensure money spent with local businesses remains in the area, instead of heading from local branches to company headquarters in London or overseas.

The scheme was inspired by a similar one launched in 2009 by residents of Brixton, London. In a little over 2 years Brixton’s innovative approach towards securing more financial independence has exploded in popularity, with more than 250 businesses accepting paper and electronic Brixton pounds.

It is on the successes of the Brixton model that Bristol’s currency seeks to build, though the Bristol pound is aiming higher, with FSA backed digitally accepted currency payments already introduced.

Success of the currency will help Bristol’s independent traders to compete with national and multinational retailers by targeting local shoppers and offering deals and reductions to users of the locally orientated currency. Further, local businesses will benefit from local advertising from the website.

“The Bristol Pound online directory will allow you to easily make special offers to Bristol Pound members as a reward for their support, providing additional marketing impact for your business,” the Bristol Pound site explains.

“As a member business you will become more connected to a network of independent businesses in Bristol which makes you stronger together, and Bristol’s economy more active and resilient.”

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