Keeping small businesses alive during the coronavirus / economic crisis

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Posted Apr 3 2020 by Dave Darby of Lowimpact.org
Keeping small businesses alive during the coronavirus economic crisis

The coronavirus crisis is causing an economic crash that will only get worse. Research has indicated that a shortage of money will mean that up to a million UK small businesses may close in the coming months. To prevent the devastation of small businesses, and therefore our communities, there needs to be an alternative means of exchanging goods and services.

That alternative exists – it’s called mutual credit, and it really works. Here’s an explanation, and an invitation for small businesses to join. We’ve kept it as simple as possible, with links at the bottom to find out more.

1. It works

In 2009, after the last crash, a group on the island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean launched a mutual credit network called Sardex. Last year almost 50 million euros’ worth of trade was conducted in mutual credit in Sardinia. There are successful schemes in other parts of the world too.

Keeping small businesses alive during the coronavirus economic crisis : Sardex in Sardinia

2. It’s in the UK

Now mutual credit is available in the UK – via a not-for-profit called the Open Credit Network.

3. Join

First, join the directory here. You’ll be asked to add the products / services you’re offering and the products / services you need. Each time you login, you’ll be shown other businesses who are offering what you need, and need what you’re offering, so that you can find customers and suppliers, and they can find you.

4. Trade

Find potential customers and suppliers, and contact them to suggest a trade. You can agree to trade partly, or entirely, in mutual credit. If you sell, your account will be credited, and if you buy, your account will be debited. These are just numbers in your account, that can be used to buy from any other business in the network. There are limits to how far you can go into credit or debit, and that’s it. No money is required, and it’s very easy – you’ll soon get the hang of it.

5. Local to global

As they grow, local networks will be built, that can trade with each other within the national network. There are also people working on a way to link mutual credit networks all around the world, in a global ‘Credit Commons‘. But you can join the UK network right now and start trading with other businesses anywhere in the country.

6. Spread the word / volunteer

This is going to be essential for small businesses, communities and the world. Help spread the word – send this to everyone you know. If you’re a small business, invite your customers and suppliers to join the network. We have to move fast – let us know if you’re available to volunteer.

Keeping small businesses alive during the coronavirus economic crisis: Open Credit Network

7. More

Find out more about the Open Credit Network and mutual credit via their FAQ page and blog, and on Wikipedia.