New Voice in the Crowd – Craig Asano Champions Education to Bring New Funding Model to Canada

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National Post | David Pett | December 3, 2013

Craig AsanoCraig Asano Champions Education to Bring New Funding Model to Canada

When Craig Asano’s phone chimes, he looks at his screen, but doesn’t answer. “lt’s usually Ottawa asking for some information,” he says over coffee at a downtown Toronto restaurant. We've gone there a number of times and presented to senior policy makers who are very interested in how crowdfimding works and how they can get involved."

The admission isn't Surprising. Since launching the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada in October 2012, Asano has been in high demand among entrepreneurs, investors and regulators as an educator and advocate For the latest global craze in raising capital for startups and small businesses.

But despite his growing influence, he wants to accomplish a great deal more, including the establishment of a comprehensive, fully integrated national crowdfunding industry that levels the playing field with other countries and helps solve Canada‘s chronic funding crisis. “The rest of the world is moving very quickly and we’ve got to get on board here,” he says. “The way to get it on the agenda is to band together."

Asano’s brainstorm for a National Crowdfunding Association came within weeks of returning to the country from a 15 -year stint overseas as an entrepreneur. After reconnecting with old colleagues, including Brian Koscak, chairman of the Exempt Market Dealers Association of Canada, he noticed Canada’s venture-capital market was leaving entrepreneurs with great ideas desperately short on funding for their innovations.

Related: Crowdfunding is essential for SME innovation and job creation

The solution: Crowdfunding, which pools small amounts of capital from a large number of people usually through online portals. It had at that time emerged as a legitimate solution worth more than US$2 billion globally, but it was sorely underutilized in Canada and still not well understood.

Since then, crowdfunding has gained considerable momentum and the NCFA has rapidly grown to now boast more than 550 members. The association has attracted people from three main categories: industry stakeholders, such as portal operators, consultants and service providers like accountants and lawyers; entrepreneurs and startups looking for funding; and investors or backers ready to put some of their capital to work. Asano says the NCFA‘s focus is on education and advocacy, but it also provides an important networking opportunity.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada crowdfunding hub providing education, advocacy and networking opportunities in the rapidly evolving crowdfunding industry. NCFA Canada is a community-based, membership-driven entity that was formed at the grass roots level to fill a national need in the market place. Join our growing network of industry stakeholders, fundraisers and investors. Increase your organization’s profile and gain access to a dynamic group of industry front runners. Learn more eBrochure | Prezi or contact us at casano@ncfacanada.org.

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