BCCTC Crowdfunding Seminar (July 23, 2014): Igniting Entrepreneurship in Canada

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British Canadian Chamber of Commerce | Idalia Obregon | July 23, 2014

BCCCTC Crowdfunding seminar group

By Ken Mark, freelance writer specializing in international trade and investment. Email: ken.mark@rogers.com 

Craig Asano, addressed a joint breakfast session on the current status of crowdfunding in Canada co-sponsored by the BCCTC, the Danish-Canadian Chamber, the Canada-Finland Chamber and the Swedish Canadian Chamber on July 17th, 2014. Asano is the founder and executive chair of the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada).

While crowdsourcing taps into the wisdom of crowds, crowdfunding  taps into their wealth. More formally, it is the pooling of small amounts of capital from a large number of people through the internet and social media to fund social projects or business venture. 

It is important since focuses on SME’s , the backbone of the Canadian economy which account of 55% of employment and 50% of National GDP. Small-cap firms and start ups are constant need of capital often less $1.5 million but they constantly face barriers.

The enable them to spur business and economic growth, employment and innovation, unlock new sources of capital and support for underserviced
communities, while strengthening grass-root groups in the start-up, SME community and connecting them with upstream capital markets, angels and venture capital firms.

View presentation slides from the seminar

Success stories are emerging.  In the United Kingdom there is the Funding Circle, an online marketplace for small business loans. Launched in 2010 and it ha the support of large VCs (i.e., Union Square Ventures) and prominent British entrepreneurs. To date, it has facilitated £183 million pounds of small loans involving 60,000 members.

In Canada, the crowdfunding poster child is Pebble Smart Watch started by Waterloo U. engineering student, Eric Migicovsky. His initial goal was to raise $100,000. But thanks to the viral success of pre-selling 69,000 watches, he  raised more than US$10 million on the American portal,  Kickstarter.

A public sector star is Calgary’s  Invest YYC launched  in January 2013. It raised $650,000 across 47 projects for an average of $13,892 per project. Some of proceeds were used in flood relief in Calgary last summer.

In conclusion, crowdfunding enables start-ups, SMEs, to unlock a new sources of capital (that is efficient, transparent, cost effective to get businesses, expansion and other projects off the ground. It spur creativity, innovation and helps validate ideas and research. It also fosters networking, mentorship and support

Investors gain by accessing more deals be removing geographic boundaries through electronic and social media links. Crowdfunding simplifies

Portfolio management and helps diversify risk. It can help build investor networks, and ‘lead investor’ syndicates. It can also yield more online transaction data points so participants can make earlier and informed decisions.

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