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Equal Care Co-op - OFFER CLOSED

Equal Care Co-op Withdrawable shares

£100 minimum

Risk factors

All investment and commercial activities carry risk, and investors should consider whether Equal Care Co-op is a suitable investment for them in light of their own personal circumstances.

You should remember that your investment is primarily for the purpose of supporting the society rather than making an investment return. As a Society, the maximum return offered to investors will always be limited.

 This offer is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Risks

Equal Care is a new start-up, the first of its kind in the UK (although it does take many elements of its model from existing and proven approaches). This is a risky investment and lots of things need to happen if Equal Care Co-op are to get to where they want to be, which is a thriving, sustainable co-operative that’s changing the world of social care in the UK.

As a start-up business, they are in need of cash early on, and in addition to the share issue, they will need further grant funding in the next three years.

They plan to undertake a further share issue in 2021 having proven the concept.

If they are not successful in securing these additional funds, their pathway to profitability will be much slower and therefore longer; if they are not successful with the grant funding in 2019 and 2020, or the business doesn’t develop as planned, then all bets are off. On the other hand, the more cash they can raise in the share issue, the less requirement they will have on those grant funds.

Below, Equal Care Co-op have explained their main risks are and how they taking action to reduce or respond to that risk.


General investment risks

It is important that you understand the following general points about holding community shares in Equal Care Co-op:

As a Registered Society under the Co-operatives and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, Equal Care Co-op is registered with, but not authorised or regulated by, the Financial Conduct Authority. Any money you pay for shares is not safeguarded by any depositor protection or dispute resolution scheme. In particular, you have no right of complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service, nor any access or entitlement to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

An investment in community shares is an at-risk investment in a trading business, not a loan or a deposit, and rates of return are not guaranteed. This investment should be considered as a medium to long term investment with a primarily social objective. Your shares may not be readily convertible to cash should you need to withdraw them.

As a member and shareholder of Equal Care Co-op you could, if the business is unable to meet its debts or other liabilities, lose some or all of your investment held in shares. However, your liability is limited to the amount that you have paid for your shares. Whilst it is the Society’s intention to pay interest on shares at the rate advertised in this offer, community shares do not enjoy any capital growth.


Operational Risks - low demand

Risk: Cannot get enough customers or people paying for support are too geographically spread out to support the local service model – cost of care remains too high to support platform model.

Actions to reduce or respond to risk:
Equal Care Co-op are working in small locations, building close, trusted relationships and aiming for depth rather than spread, which will allow them to reach surplus faster.

They are also reaching out to groups (or they are reaching out to Equal Care Co-op) so that they not starting blind in any area but always in collaboration with a group of committed, excited, representative people who want to see this work.

Equal Care Co-op's marketing work is closer to community development than marketing: connecting with local groups, identifying people with the best networks and having one to ones with them, advertising in local pubs, community venues, churches and focusing on the power of word of mouth.

Equal Care Co-op know there is increasing interest in this model from those who commission or pay for care and support for large groups of people. If this risk begins to happen, Equal Care Co-op will temporarily pivot away from the software development and invest in more marketing and matching roles. Without the immediate benefits of using the software they will have to charge more for the service (35%) and this will impact on what they are able to pay care workers.


Operational - Competition

Risk: Equal Care Co-op are out-competed by private care platforms

Actions to reduce or respond to risk:
Equal Care Co-op have carried out full competitor analysis.

They are not starting out in any of the areas targeted by the competition.

They have a unique selling proposition as a platform co-operative offerin community-led care and support.

Social care sector is less vulnerable to market domination from one big player (unlike taxi apps for example) both due to statutory constraints on local authority procurement and customer behaviour.


Operational - Platform Development

Risk: Platform release significantly delayed

Actions to reduce or respond to risk:
Agile ways of working with short feedback cycles

Clear governance and communication arrangements to effectively co-produce the technology

If it happens Equal Care Co-op will use off-the-shelf care co-ordination tools, stay in their ‘minimum viable product’ phase for longer and delay a couple of thier non income generating aims (Care Coins, peer support and embedded co-production).


Financial - Capital

Risk: Lack of working capital before Equal Care Co-op reach sustainability

Actions to reduce or respond to risk:

Equal Care Co-op take a diversified approach to covering core costs and have proven their attractiveness to grant funders through support to date.

They have robust financial forecasting approaches and can act in advance of hitting cashflow problems.

If this happens, they will delay expansion into other areas, focusing away from product development and concentrate on generating trading income.

They may take out a business loan.

They will continue to build and rely on a large, supportive volunteer base


Financial - revenue

Risk: Equal Care Co-op experinece revenue troubles

Actions to reduce or respond to risk:
Experienced team members in contracting, financial forecasting and business development.

Good working relationships with their closest local authorities (and evidence of interest further afield).

They may take out a business loan.

Prioritise operational delivery and sales roles over tech development.

They may temporarily increase their fees.


Governance - implementation

Risk: Co-production and alternative governance is ineffectively implemented

Actions to reduce or respond to risk:
Significant investment in training, advisory support, mentoring and governance expertise.

Actively collaborating with other organisations working in this area (Cornerstones, Wellbeing Teams, Buurtzorg BI)

Equal Care Co-op give governance and co-production equal (or greater) importance to product development

Clear contracts, agreements and memoranda state which roles are accountable for what.

Offer Closed

 As of 14th August 2019 this offer is closed

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