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Neighbourly-a social network that connects community projects with businesses keen to lend a hand!

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by Startacus Admin

Throughout our Bristol startup month we have been hearing one statement repeated over and over again… Bristol has a thriving tech startup scene, and through our explorations we have found plenty of evidence in support of that!

The city seems to be a booming hub of techno activity with innovative new companies springing up all over the place! One such startup is neighbourly, a social network that connects community projects/charities with businesses keen to lend a hand!

We had a chat with founder and CEO Nick Davies ahead of their full launch this July. Here’s what he had to say...

Can you tell us a little bit about the history of Neighbourly, where the idea came from and how it has progressed?Neighbourly

The neighbourly idea came from a frustration with ‘globalisation’. As brands get bigger and their actions become increasingly global they start to feel more remote, and that makes them harder to trust. That’s bad for business. We knew that if we could build a platform where communities could ask for help from brands who in-turn could put money and volunteering into projects, the trust would come back, and that would be a win-win!

We began in February with M&S, Carphone Warehouse and some smaller companies and have stayed under the radar whilst we check everything works as it should. Starbucks are joining us soon, and we hope to announce a few more fantastic brand partners when we do our full launch in July. We’re already talking to international markets so expect big things from neighbourly in 2015.

What kinds of projects have people been using neighbourly for and what has the response from local communities been like?

Neighbourly is incredibly easy - one simple form, no red tape, no close-dates, no advertising and it’s free for projects (companies pay to use the site). Unsurprisingly, response has been fantastic. We’ve stayed deliberately quiet so far to manage expectations ahead of our July launch. That said, people have found us from right across the country and the secret’s definitely out around our home towns of Bristol and Bath!

As for types of projects there’s pretty much anything you can think of, ranging from a couple of days volunteering to big projects that need significant capital expenditure. We suggest projects think small whilst companies get used to how neighbourly works. But it’s not really for us to say what will or won’t get backed - if you tell your story and get the whole community behind you, anything could happen!

You guys are currently working from the Engine Shed in Bristol, in your experience what are the benefits of working in a creative hub / co working space for a business like yours?

We’re part of the award-winning ‘SetSquared’ University Incubator programme and that allows us to work out of the Engine Shed in Bristol and the Innovation Centre in Bath. SetSquared have been excellent - Simon, Nick and their teams have a huge amount of experience and they’ve made introductions to funding partners, competitions and investor opportunities that we’d simply have missed if we’d tried to do this on our own. There’s also an energy about a startup co-working space. People work hard but are always ready to share, and their experiences are always invaluable.

So as you know its Bristol Startup month here at can you share a few of your thoughts about the cities startup scene?

Bristol is often referred to as Silicon Gorge and with good reason, given the depth of technical expertise that comes out of our high-tech local industries and the universities. But it’s also a highly individual and creative city and that’s reflected in the huge range of smart startups happening here. Brunel’s Engine Shed is a truly inspirational setting to launch a new business, and with Bristol’s ‘Best place to live in Britain’ accolade in 2014 as well as easy access to London, we’ll not be rushing up the M4 anytime soon…Neighbourly

Thanks for the thoughts Nick and best of luck with the upcoming launch.

If you reckon this is a great idea and are dying to get on board, then pop over to the neighborly website for more info!

Startup Glasgow month is July, click here to see how you can get involved!

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Published on: 19th June 2014

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