Monday, October 13, 2014 - 23:59

Investors offered six per cent per year for four years and then money back

The Eden Project is aiming to raise up to £1.5m through a mini-bond to create a ground-breaking new learning village at its home in Cornwall.

Eden, acclaimed world-wide for its famous plant Biomes, is teaming up with the UK’s largest investment crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to give investors the opportunity to grow one of the UK’s best education centres.

Since fully opening in 2001, Eden has attracted more than 16 million visitors and generated £1.4 billion for the regional economy.  For the last three years running it has won Best UK Leisure Attraction at the British Travel Awards – the ‘Travel Oscars’ voted for by the public.

The issuing of the Eden Project Bond will enable Eden to access finance from its own supporters as well as a crowd of registered investors and the general public through Crowdcube.

Eden’s ambition is to re-purchase and lovingly restore two farmhouses - Restineas and Vounder - and their outbuildings on the edge of its site in a former clay quarry near St Austell.

The plan is to turn the collection of old buildings into a unique venue for teaching quality horticulture, cookery and food production.  The learning village would be surrounded by a new market garden.

The Eden Project Bond aims to raise up to £1.5 million towards the project.  The total cost of the restoration of the properties is expected to be around £3m and the mini-bond will allow the first phase to begin.

Investors can put in a minimum of £500 and in return get six per cent per annum over the four-year term of the bond.  Investments are in multiples of £500 and there is no upper limit. The investment opportunity will be available on Crowdcube for 60 days or when it reaches its target; whichever is sooner.

Eden Executive Director David Harland said: “The Eden Project Bond has a very simple idea at its heart – investors loan money to us, we agree to pay them interest annually and repay the initial investment when the Bond matures in four years’ time.

“We hope that people will join us on this exciting journey to create a fantastic educational facility. When complete, the learning village will give young people the chance to study and work in very special surroundings within the Eden Project.”

Luke Lang, co-founder of Crowdcube said: “It’s brilliant that the Eden Project has become the latest high-profile organisation to use Crowdcube to raise finance. Mini-bonds have emerged as a cost-effective and efficient way for well-established brands to raise growth capital and engage with their customers. By giving people the opportunity to invest in an organisation they love in return for a financial reward, mini-bonds encourage loyalty while also attracting new customers.

“Eden is synonymous with innovation and community, which makes it a great fit for crowdfunding.”