ATB Financial prepares Alberta-focused crowdfunding platform

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Calgary Herald | Mario Toneguzzi |May 28, 2015

“Anyone in the world can boost a business on Alberta BoostR but only Alberta entrepreneurs and small businesses can actually launch a campaign,” said Neetu Sidhu, manager of ATB’s Alberta BoostR.

The beta stage of the platform’s development ended in November and several businesses are poised to launch fundraising campaigns when the platform goes live, she said.

“We got a lot of positive reception from business owners saying this is not only a great platform for me to raise money to either launch or grow my business but also a great marketing tool,” said Sidhu.

She said ATB is taking a different approach to the typical crowdfunding sites which are primarily based online. Events are also being created where companies can pitch their ideas to an audience who will be given ATB BoostR dollars to distribute to companies they like. An expert panel will also offer feedback to the companies.

Brenda Mahoney, an owner of Vin Gogh Paint and Sip Studio in Calgary which offers social evenings of painting and wine, said the Alberta BoostR program could be “fabulous” opportunity for her young business.

“When we started this we didn’t know that we had to have a kitchen for a liquor licence. So we did not have that in our business plan or our budget. So we took a loan out for the kitchen equipment. We’re hoping to raise some money to cover the costs of the kitchen equipment. We’re hoping to raise between $10,000 and $15,000,” she said.

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The Calgary Chamber of Commerce hosted an informational event this week for companies to learn more about the growing crowdfunding trend.

Scott Crockatt, spokesperson for the Chamber, said another event involving the Chamber and ATB is planned for later in June where companies can pitch their idea to a crowd of about 200 people.

“We’re going to give everybody in the crowd a $20 voucher to put this towards the best business you think there’s a crowd fund to sort of help boost them up,” said Crockatt. “I think crowdfunding is catching on as another tool in the entrepreneur’s tool box of ways to source capital.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country.  NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support and networking opportunities to over 1100+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada.  Learn more About Us or visit www.ncfacanada.org.

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