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Start-ups Asked to Pledge Equity to Charity

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Entrepreneurs are being told to give up 1pc of the equity they hold in their start-ups to a “charity they feel passionate about” by a new campaign that is aiming to get time and cash-poor company founders to support good causes.

The Founders Pledge scheme is being led by Damian Kimmelman, director of financial information website, who said he is in talks with investors and other business owners to establish the initiative.

 The commitment would be exercised when a business is sold, Mr Kimmelman said, and is designed for the owners of small businesses who want to support charities but have little free money or time to donate.

Mr Kimmelman said he had the idea during a recent visit to Ethiopia with a group of entrepreneurs to see the work of the US organisation Charity:Water, which is aiming to supply clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.

He was “inspired” by a pledge made on the trip by Andy McLoughlin, co-founder of software business Huddle, to give up 1pc of his equity to Charity:Water. “I realised that I could start getting involved with charities in a meaningful way without giving away time or money, both of which are currently in short supply,” Mr Kimmelman said.

“The majority of founders will have put most of their wealth into getting their company off the ground, so asking them for money . . . isn’t going to work. [Instead] I want to ask them to donate 1pc of their own equity via the Founders Pledge.”

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