After inspiring Bank of America and HSBC to open small business community websites, Join2Grow, the first and some would say the best social finance website from a bank, is closing down at the end of this month.
I've used them as a reference for banking communities for over a year, and so was saddened to hear this news.
Here's the official news:
Dear Join2Grow member,
After two years of activity, we have decided to suspend the website which you have helped to inspire and build. As of the end of February 2009, Join2Grow will no longer be online.First and foremost, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you.
From the beginning, our objective was to create an online community dedicated to the European entrepreneur. Without your participation, your help and your encouragement, we could never have succeeded in accomplishing that goal.
These are uncertain times for all of us, and as much as we would prefer to be weathering the financial storm along with our members, a complicated set of factors has determined that the best course for us is to stop, at least for now.
As for you and your fellow entrepreneurs, we encourage you to keep up the good work! Through our community, entrepreneurs throughout Europe have created relationships that will endure. Stay in touch with each other, or reach out to other members in these final weeks of Join2Grow.
According to our January poll – “How do you feel about your company's prospects in 2009, compared to 2008?” – about half of you believe that you will do at least a little bit better in the coming year.
We at Join2Grow salute your optimism and wish you the best of luck with your ventures in 2009 and beyond!
This is a shame as they set a standard for building and reaching customers and what they don't mention in their announcement is the cost of running such a service, the fact that they are owned by Fortis and that this bank is now nationalised.
A sign of the cost-cutting times if you ask me …
… meantime, Join2Grow teams up with Our Virtual Holland in that great internet service in the sky.