Mixologist turns to crowd-funding to finance new bar

Simon CollierA bartender has turned to a crowd-funding platform to help him raise money to open his own cocktail bar in Thurso in the north of Scotland.

Simon Collier (pictured) is looking to raise £20,000 through BankToTheFuture.com by the end of July this year so he can open the bar specialising in exotic and expertly crafted cocktails.

To encourage people to take a stake, he is offering smaller investors the incentive of a free cocktail masterclass for themselves and nine guests.

As the only trained mixologist in the area, Simon wants to deliver “unique and quality drinks” to Thurso and neighbouring Caithness. “We want this bar to be for the community, so we are offering the chance for the community to be part of it,” he said.

The only trained mixologist in the area, Simon has 11 years’ experience in cocktail-making, having received product training from major drinks companies such as Diageo and Maxxium.

Looking beyond his first bar in Thurso, he has plans to expand to other towns and cities across the UK through his business, MRC Bartending.

Investors pledging £100 will be able to book a session for 10 people on the Group Cocktail Masterclass which includes a welcome drink and demonstrations of how classic cocktails are created. The 10 guests will also have the opportunity to create their own cocktail which will then go on sale at the bar for the following seven days. Investors will also receive two invites to the launch event of the new outlet. Places on the Group Cocktail Masterclass normally cost £13 per person.

Investors pledging £200 will receive 10 places on the MRC Bartending Expert Masterclass, which normally cost £25 per person. As well as a welcome drink and demonstrations, this enhanced session also includes instruction from a trained mixologist on the techniques and skills used by professional bartenders. Each guest on the Expert Masterclass will also receive an invite to the launch event.

BankToTheFuture.com, co-founded in 2012 by former investment banker Simon Dixon and former banker Bliss Dixon, offers start-ups and mature businesses entrepreneurs an alternative to high-street banks for business finance.

Simon Dixon said: “Simon is typical of the type of entrepreneur we set ourselves up to assist. With his enthusiasm, training and exciting business idea, we are convinced that MRC Bartending will thrive and prosper.”

Simon Collier added: “Quite simply, this makes the venture possible. High street banks will not support me. However, thanks to crowd-funding – and in particular the people at BankToTheFuture.com who helped me create and post my pitch – Thurso’s first cocktail bar is well on its way to becoming a reality.”

In the first six months from the launch, BankToTheFuture.com helped to secure more than £250,000 for businesses pitching for investment and won British Innovation of The Year 2012 plus endorsement from Sir Richard Branson.

Simon Dixon said: “We are democratising investing where businesses secure funding not because banks say ‘yes’ or only rich people say ‘yes’ but because everyday people are deciding who gets the money. We’ve taken the best practices which have previously only been used to raise finance for large companies and stripped out the cost and turned it online, so that small and medium businesses can raise the sums they need without the upfront fees.”

Click here for Simon Collier’s Facebook page for more details.

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