HIGHLAND bartender Simon Collier has raised £6580 towards a £20,000 crowdfunding target to finance the opening of a cocktail bar in Thurso.

Mr Collier is seeking a minimum of £16,000 via platform BankToTheFuture.com to furnish and equip the former Newmarket Bar.

He said: "High street banks will not support me.

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"However, thanks to crowdfunding – and in particular the people at BankToTheFuture.com who helped me create and post my pitch – Thurso's first cocktail bar is well on its way to becoming a reality."

Mr Collier is offering 12% of the equity in his MRC Bartending business to investors.

This means someone investing £100 will get a 0.06% stake.

He is seeking to sweeten the offer by giving those investing £100 a cocktail masterclass for themselves and nine guests.

Those investing £200 will receive 10 places on a more advanced expert masterclass.

Mr Collier already has ambitions to extend the MRC Bartending to other towns and cities across the UK.

Simon Dixon, chief executive and co-founder of BankToTheFuture.com, said: "We are delighted that MRC Bartending came to us to seek funding for this new venture.

"Simon is typical of the type of entrepreneur we set ourselves up to assist. With his enthusiasm, training and exciting business idea, we are convinced that MRC Bartending will thrive and prosper."

Crowdfunding has been used to varying degrees of success by a number of Scottish businesses.

Among those who have prospered using the technique is Aberdeenshire brewer BrewDog, which raised £2.2 million in 2011.

It is already over the £1m mark in its current £4m fundraising drive.

But there is still reticence among many companies to use the approach.

A recent Glasgow Chambers of Commerce study found that while Scottish companies had the potential to raise £16 million through crowdfunding in 2012, based on Scotland accounting for 8% of the UK economy, only £1m was generated using the model.