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Greene & Greene is a long established firm of solicitors based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Our lawyers advise individuals and businesses based all over the UK.

We regularly attract new clients who have been using firms in London, but now receive a more cost efficient and more personal service from us here in Bury St Edmunds.

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Crowdfunding: An Alternative Source of Finance During a Challenging Economic Climate

We are consistently told the major banks are ‘open for business’ but it goes without saying that obtaining credit has never been more difficult with strict criteria in place for borrowing.

Some businesses may find it appropriate to explore invoice discounting or factoring but these solutions are not appropriate in all circumstances.

A new trend has emerged for crowd finance.  This can take one of three forms:

(a) Peer to peer crowd lending - consumers bidding to contribute to a business loan at competitive rates of interest (see fundingcircle.com which has lent nearly £40m since its inception in August 2010);

(b) Reward crowd funding - projects are funded by donations in return for incentives of a non-financial nature, for example, a band funds the recording of its new album by donations from fans who, in return, receive a signed CD (see the US website kickstarter.com which endeavours to raise $150m of project finance for its participants in 2012; a UK launch is planned for late 2012); and

(c) Equity crowd funding - entrepreneurs seeking investment (rather than a loan) make an online pitch for investors to subscribe for shares in the company in a tax efficient way (via EIS and SEIS tax reliefs) from as little as £10. It’s an opportunity to play Dragons’ Den from the comfort of your own home, albeit a high risk investment strategy that’s not appropriate for most people. In the UK, crowdcube.com has raised nearly £4m to date (average amount raised by entrepreneurs being £169,000 and average investment per member being £2,562) and has recently been joined in the market by competitor seedrs.com.

As a commercial lawyer, I find this rapidly developing funding community fascinating and, in certain circumstances, see it as a viable alternative to more traditional sources of finance.

The contents of this article are for general information only.  To discuss your funding requirements in more detail and seek advice on different forms of raising debt or equity, contact Mark Daly on 01284 717500 or email markdaly@greene-greene.com.

Article Published: Velvet magazine, August 2012

Mark joined Greene & Greene in 2010 and became a company commercial partner in 2012. Mark has experience of acting for a variety of public and private companies, partnerships, start-ups and sole traders.

Also find Mark on:      Google +        LinkedIn         Twitter


From a good idea through to commercial success

How do you turn a good idea into a real business?  That was the issue facing Adande Refrigeration, an engineering consultancy in Lowestoft.  They spotted a basic problem with refrigerators.  Every time you open the door, the cold air falls out.  That wastes energy and means that temperatures within the fridge vary hugely.  You may not mind that at home, but in commercial kitchens it increases energy costs, wastes food and eats profit.  In essence Adande’s idea was to store food in an insulated drawer.  When you open the drawer the cold air stays where it is meant to be, with the food.  Energy costs are halved and food quality is improved.

Adande put together a team of advisers, including Chris Thomson.  Chris had spent most of the 1990s helping clients to innovate in the biotech sector.  That experience taught him that a good idea needs protection, funding but, most of all, the energy and enthusiasm of investors and commercial partners willing to support its development.  Chris explains

Innovators don’t have time to make mistakes. Usually funds are limited and you want to be first to market. Learning from the experience of others improves your chances of success”.

Chris joined Adande’s board and helped the Company protect its ideas, collaborate with commercial partners, raise funds and maintain good relations with investors.

These days the Company has a substantial business supplying products to customers ranging from multinationals like MacDonald’s and KFC to fine dining restaurants like Le Manoir and The Dorchester. Export sales are increasing. Chris has helped license Adande’s technology in four continents.

Chris takes pride in being part of the Adande team.

This is the most enjoyable work I do. Some businesses expect a solicitor to just tell them that “the law says do this don’t do that” and put a bill in. For me it is far more satisfying to work with a client over time, to give them the benefit of experiences we’ve had elsewhere and to help them to succeed in the way that Adande has.”

Adande continues to innovate, and to support new innovations. The Company is working on new technology for supermarkets and has sponsored “World Skills”, a showcase for up and coming chefs.  Chris continues to work with the Company and to also work with other innovators in markets such as medical devices and animal health.

Article Published: IOD Suffolk magazine, June 2012


Be a savvy landlord

Julia Cardy outlines important stages in the rental of residential property.

"While the majority cause no trouble to landlords, there is always the chance that you will encounter a problem tenant.  Avoid the risk and expense of dealing with an undesirable tenant, by taking certain steps."

1. Carry out proper background checks on the tenant before the tenancy commences; include credit history, salary information and appropriate references.  Obtain an adequate deposit from the tenant; ideally, the equivalent of six weeks rent.  Protect the deposit in an authorised government scheme.

2. Ensure a proper assured shorthold tenancy agreement is signed by both partiesEnsure the terms are clear, particularly in relation to when rent is paid. Consider whether to include any “special” clauses, such as whether pets are allowed in the property.

3. Prepare a detailed inventory noting the condition of each room. Take photographs and sign and date them.  Both parties should then sign the inventory.  Consider whether to take out landlord insurance; to cover any rent which remains unpaid by the tenant and/or any legal fees you incur pursuing a claim.

4. Ending the tenancy; you (or the tenant) will not be able to end the tenancy during the fixed period, unless the tenant has breached the tenancy agreement.  After the fixed term has come to an end (usually 6 or 12 months), the tenancy becomes a contractual or statutory tenancy, running from month to month or week to week.  If you then want the tenant to leave, you must give two months’ notice unless the tenant has committed a breach of the agreement.

5. At the end of the tenancy check the condition of the property against the detailed inventory.  If possible, try to agree all items with the tenant.  Deal with the deposit, notifying the tenant of any deductions you intend to make.  If the tenant objects, consider using the Deposit Protection Service’s adjudication procedure to resolve matters.

"These are necessary steps.  You should be following these every time the tenancy changes or renews." 

Also, don’t forget to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate before you market your property. One to look out for too, as yet just a bill is for landlords to install at least one mains powered smoke alarm; that through an amended tenancy agreement the tenant will agree to test on a monthly basis and for the landlord to rectify any defects.

For more information on document preparation call Julia on 01284 717450 or email juliacardy@greene-greene.com

Article published: Velvet magazine, June 2012


But when will I see Granny?

Grandparents play an increasingly important role in today’s society as the main childcare provider for approximately 35% of families. What happens to that special relationship where there is a family split?

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Environmental Law: The Importance of Risk Assessments

Two very different environmental law cases that I have been involved with over recent years graphically illustrate the importance of risk assessments. In both these recent cases, although the extent of the outcome probably could not have been anticipated, had more thought been applied to the risk assessment process, the events that unfolded and the significant expense they generated would have undoubtedly been avoided.

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Don’t listen to Robert Peston...

Despite gloomy economic news, businesses are still selling, for good money. The trick is to find a buyer that is not dependent on substantial bank funding. Many buyers generate cash from trading and, rather than it earning only bank interest of, say, 3% use that cash to expand by buying other businesses. On average my team is successfully completing 9 or 10 sales every month.

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