Bizcrowd Launched by RBS and NatWest
The Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest Bank have launched a joint venture, Bizcrowd, aimed at the SME market.
Aiming to match small and medium-sized businesses with suppliers, Bizcrowd is a free-to-use online tool.
What’s more, small businesses don’t need to be either an RBS or NatWest customer, the Bizcrowd platform is open to all businesses with a UK postcode.
The Bizcrowd website comprises a number of "noticeboards" dedicated to particular industry sectors from Agriculture, Hunting & Forestry to Travel, Tourism & Accommodation.
Each noticeboard in Bizcrowd is further subdivided and businesses can post in these noticeboards either offering products and services that they provide or post seeking those products and services that their business needs.
The Bizcrowd platform also has a system where businesses can rate their transactions so SMEs can build up their reputation online.
Bizcrowd isn’t the first platform of its kind designed for small businesses. In April 2007 BT launched its Tradespace website which claimed to be the first social business network in the UK.
The BT Tradespace network, approaching its sixth year online, allows small businesses to post stores, videos, blogs and testimonials in their own space.
Other social networks have attempted to add a business aspect notably Facebook and Google plus with their "pages" for businesses. Whilst Facebook and G+ are more for interacting and sharing, like a normal social network, Bizcrowd is hoping to allow small businesses to trade and actually do business.
Chris Sullivan, the Chief Executive Officer of Corporate Banking at RBS and NatWest said of the new Bizcrowd community;
“It has always been the role of the bank manager to connect British businesses to one another, now we’re extending that support online. We hope Bizcrowd helps as many SMEs as possible raise their profile and win new business.”
The Bizcrowd platform will certainly be helpful for businesses who have no online presence as it should be able to raise the profile of those SMEs if given the right attention. For existing ventures, Bizcrowd could provide a little additional lift to awareness and trade.