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Can a local digital currency support innovation and collaboration between entrepreneurs in Birmingham?

A talk by Stuart Bowles
Co-Founder, Parity Network Ltd

12 October 2020, 10:15 AM

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About this talk

Over the past ten years there has been a growing interest in alternative currencies, specifically cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and its blockchain technology. A study from the University of Birmingham suggests that these models aren’t very useful for entrepreneurs in Birmingham. The research identified an alternative model called Sardex that launched in 2010 in Italy. Sardex provides a business-to-business local currency that increases the liquidity available to entrepreneurs and connects them with new business opportunities. It is now being used by over 15,000 small businesses across Italy and facilitates €100millions-worth of transactions each year.

The event will provide an overview of alternative currencies, including Bitcoin, and outline their limitations in supporting local entrepreneurs. It will detail findings from the University project's fieldwork in Italy that investigated how Sardex supports innovation and collaboration between local entrepreneurs. Finally, it will introduce Parity Network, a spin-out project from the study that launched a local currency and marketplace in Birmingham in June 2020. Parity is now increasing the liquidity available to twenty two small businesses and connecting them with new business opportunities.

Stuart Bowles

Stuart is a PhD candidate at the University of Birmingham and Co-Founder of Parity Network Ltd. He is interested in how financial innovation can support sustainable regional development. He has worked on pan-European innovation projects, had successful investments in financial technology startups and is now applying his energies to replicate the successes of the Sardex local currency in the UK.

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