I’m a big believer in the old adage of putting one’s money where one’s mouth is. I also think that money is considerably more than personal spending power, but has all kinds of potential to make good things happen in the world, if we take a creative and generous approach to it. I’m a fan of micro-lending, peer to peer finance, kickstarter, pledgemusic and the many other ways to use our money in interesting ways. I’m also interested in ethical investment, getting a social or environmental return from what small funds I have at my disposal.
So I was naturally curious to come across Ethex this week. It’s a platform for making positive investments, and building a portfolio of specific projects. Some of those projects start with investments as low as £10, so anyone can get involved. Investors get a return, but of course there’s a real benefit to entrepreneurs too. It can be hard to raise the finance for not-for-profit or social enterprises, and this gives businesses an extra avenue of funding.
Ethex is also something of a bridge between traditional investing and the crowdfunding platforms that have emerged in recent years. Crowdfunding usually offers perks in return for financial pledges. You don’t get your money back, so there’s often a degree of philanthropy involved. Micro-investment is a little more complicated, but it is gaining traction. The best known in Britain is probably Funding Circle, and if Ethex can grow into an ethical investment version of Funding Circle, that would be a fine thing indeed.
“Ethex has been launched to make it easy for you to invest positively – that is to actively put your money into businesses whose mission and impacts you support” says the website, which is currently in Beta.