Canadian Sports Crowdfunding Platform Makeachamp Sent Six Local Olympians to Sochi

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Tech Vibes  | Roger Huang | Feb 13, 2014

Elli Terwiel raised crowdfunding dollars on makeachamp for sochiNext time you watch the Sochi Olympics, consider what it took for the athletes you see to get all the way to the peak. You could think of the robust physique needed to conquer a sport, but spare another thought for the financing needed to bring an athlete from the beginning of training to the top podium of their sport.

Did you think that corporate and state sponsors shoulder everything for Olympic athletes striving for greatness, or that the Games themselves provide for the athletes?

Think again. The average Olympic athlete needs to spend eight hours a day, seven days a week, to maintain the level of excellence required to compete at the highest level of sport. It is a merciless full-time job that doesn’t pay the athletes very well, as reaching the Olympic Games requires large travel, training, and equipment costs, and the Games do not provide monetary prizes for athletes beyond some local committees awarding performance bonuses for medals—Canada, for example, will provide $20,000 for a Canadian gold medal.

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Athletes are therefore dependant on sponsorship to survive. The traditional top-down approach has been that if companies could embed their logo onto your story, or if the state believed you have a good chance of bolstering national pride, money would flow towards you. If not, you were left on your own. Your dream was assumed to be dead.

It is the internet—the empowering force facilitating individual agents acting collectively—that has redefined what options you have once you face nothing more than a dead dream, and a crowd to pitch it to. The famous Jamaican bobsled team went to the Internet and raised enough dogecoins (an alternative to bitcoins based on the infamous internet doge meme) for their trip to Sochi. It was a beautiful bottom-up moment where one crowd-generated meme became a viable means of financial support for another.

A similar consonance resonates with Montreal startup MAKEACHAMP.com, which has sent six Canadian athletes to the Sochi Olympics. It is a crowdfunding startup for athletes, founded by athletes who were looking for a way forward on their dream without relying on government or corporate support.

David Ancor and Michael Shpigelman are top practitioners in a lean sport. Big money follows the big “national” sports, leaving precious little for athletes passionate about anything else. Competing in the highest level in judo was their passion, and with their backs against the wall, they created a crowdfunding platform for their dead dreams, so that they might live again.

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David earnestly takes on growing MAKEACHAMP.com and practicing his judo skills so that he remains at the top of his sport. He is helped in this regards by his co-founder Michael, and their veteran CEO David Barkay: the team they have assembled is dynamic, and keenly aware of the challenges facing athletes. David knows above all else the importance of fighting to achieve one’s goals, having steadfastly vanquished his fights in the ring, and outside of it.

In time, with the team’s determination, and hard work, MAKEACHAMP.com has helped many other athletes with that same fight. Starting with a few local crowdfunding campaigns, they have now raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for amateurs starting to explore their dream, and professionals looking to trace their path to the pinnacle. Recently featured on Dragon’s Den, their passion project has continued to shine.

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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 About Us | Prezi or contact us at casano@ncfacanada.org.

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