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Businessman to Use Peer-to-Peer Funding to Turn Bookies into Bar

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Cork businessman Ernest Cantillon is trying to get locals to support his project of turning a former betting shop into a bar.

Wine maker and ex president of the Cork Business Association, Ernest Cantillon has become the first entrepreneur to join the so-called Business Growth Scheme, a project started by Linked Finance which aims to get people to support various business endeavors.

The building on Sullivan’s Quay in Cork City used to be a place where gamblers came to bet on sports in Ireland. Now the former bookmakers office will be turned into a licensed bar, specializing in craft beers and great food.

Cantillon will make sure that locals don’t forget the history of the place by calling the new bar “The Crafty Bookmaker”, and local players need not despair: online and mobile betting are still an option.

People-funded business

Last month, the Irish businessman applied for a EUR 40,000 loan on the Linked Finance website. The service allows entrepreneurs to collect funds from members of the public, instead of loaning from banks. More than 60 investors pledged to help him fund his business and Cantillon already has 41% of the amount he needs.

“The Linked Finance experience has proven a success for us on many levels. We are lucky enough to have access to bank finance, unlike a lot of other businesses, so availability of credit wasn’t the driving factor for us — it is the quick turnaround, reasonable due diligence and ability to turn a funding requirement into a marketing opportunity,” he said.

The money will be used to pay for the refurbishment and development of the place. The new bar should open in four months.

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