Bringing Crowdfunding to Main Street

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ITBusiness.ca | | November 18th, 2013

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Introduction: My ITBusiness.ca blog will cover posts around marketing, social media, crowdfunding and the intersection of marketing and IT. I hope you find it educational and discover new perspectives that you can apply.

Walk down any Main Street in North America and you see entrepreneurship at work. You buy your fresh bread, hardware, technology, crafts and produce, or services like travel, dining, healthcare and clothing. You chat with the owners or staff and enjoy the banter and community, as well as the goods.

Three Irish Girls applied crowdfunding technology to move their studio to a new location. More below.
Three Irish Girls applied crowdfunding technology to move their studio to a new location. More below.

Crowdfunding is best known via sites like Canadian platforms FundRazr and Kickstarter for supporting creative projects for artists or cool new gadgets and technology for the geeks among us.  Backers pre-order the gadgets or receive perks, like getting their name in the credits of the new film.

Huge growth has also been seen in crowdfunding for charities or personal fundraising for medical, travel, athletics and education.  The trend shows no sign of slowing down. Massolutions estimates that the global crowdfunding market in 2013 will exceed $5.3B.

Crowdfunding on Main Street Today

The industry is now hitting an early maturity phase where businesses not generally associated with the strategy are utilizing crowdfunding to help fuel their growth. Here are 3 examples that illustrate this brave new ground on Main Street.

1.  Buy Amazing Tea to Support Kenyan Farmers – The founder of Rocky Mountain Bicycles in Vancouver used crowdfunding to raise almost $20,000 to fuel a farmer direct supply of premium Kenyan tea.  JusTea is now building the first processing kitchen to craft whole leaf tea in Kenyan farmer co-ops to create a sustainable business for farmers formerly earning just $2 per day.

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Bret ConkinBret Conkin is the CMO for FundRazr, Canada’s most successful crowdfunding platform with $37M raised in 20 countries. He has founded and collaborated on multiple tech start-ups and is an Ambassador to the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada. Past roles with P&G, BC Lottery and multiple tech start-ups have sharpened his instincts on what customers want and how to deliver it. An oft injured recreational athlete, he plays younger than his years.

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