Marketplace, for business-owners to trade without cash launched, in the Jewellery Quarter

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Parity Network Ltd on Vyse Street has received grant support from the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) to launch a brand new marketplace for local businesses and visitors.

Based on successful networks in Italy and Switzerland, Parity offers a digital platform for business-owners in the Jewellery Quarter to trade without cash. Co-founder Stuart Bowles said,

“Our platform helps business-owners in the JQ thrive through providing a liquidity boost in our local currency. They can use it to pay suppliers, invest in tools and services or treat staff to local perks.”

The innovative nature of the project is what attracted the GBSLEP to Parity, as it is the first time such a platform has been developed in the UK. Businesses in Switzerland have been using a similar model since the 1930s.

Users of Parity can now post listings on the marketplace which they are happy to exchange for the local currency. Many of them are posting introductory offers, promotions and special deals as a way of meeting new local clients and increasing footfall. Users also get a zero-interest overdraft which they can use to make purchases in the marketplace. This increases the liquidity available to the business-owners, encourages local spending and allows them to trade without cash. The GBSLEP felt this was an innovative solution to the economic challenges facing businesses.

Kinetic Communications on Tenby Street offer their introductory services in the local currency. It allows them to build relationships with new clients that they then can later offer premium services in pound sterling. Other local professional service businesses using Parity include 1000 Trades, Stratum Now, CloverHR and Breslins Birmingham. Stuart believes that the new marketplace will also be an effective tool for retailers and restaurants to encourage footfall post lockdown.

“Restaurants could post offers on the marketplace to encourage footfall at their quietest times. Whereas retailers might post special deals to encourage customers to visit, allowing them to upsell other products in pound sterling.”

Parity offers a free account where businesses can post listings and receive up to £500 worth of interest-free overdraft in the local currency. This allows them to try it out and see how their business can benefit from the local currency. The grant from the GBSLEP is supporting Parity to also scale its platform to provide the capacity for one hundred businesses from across Birmingham.

To read more about this funded project, see visit their website.

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