September 26th, 2018
ENTREVESTOR: Equal6 to launch scholarship project
Equals6, the Halifax-based professional social network for students, will soon launch a crowdfunding scholarship program in which people or organizations can help students raise funds for tuition over the Internet.
The two-year-old company has been active in raising money for scholarships for deserving students, amassing $40,000 for 140 Top Talent Scholarships in its brief history. What is new is the company is now adding a crowdfunding element to the scholarships, meaning other people can add to a scholarship once it’s posted on the Internet. It also means students can use the Equals6 website as a platform for campaigns to raise money for their tuition.
“We are activating the ability for students to launch and promote their own scholarship campaigns in about four weeks,” said CEO Andy Osburn. “This feature will allow students to create their own scholarship campaign, solicit donations and then funds are paid directly to their school.”
This initial phase of the crowdfunding program will permit donations to be pooled in geographical scholarship funds and the next release will allow donations to individual student’s campaigns.
Equals6 has developed a career-related social network for students, where they can discuss job opportunities and academics with other students and potential employers. The idea is to provide a platform for students and prospective employers to link online and hold professional discussions, in contrast to a site like Facebook, which is largely social or personal. The company has registered about 30,000 students and about 200 employers or universities, and is growing by about 15 per cent per month.
As part of its mission, Equals6 has encouraged companies and organizations to provide scholarships to students, usually in the $250 to $450 range. Once the crowdfunding option is live, students will be able to create campaigns with targets of $250 to $2,000.
Supporters can still initiate a scholarship. If they commit $250, they can select the name of the scholarship and help to choose the winner. By committing $500 or more, they can direct the money to the school of their choice.
Equals6 will contribute $50 to successfully funded scholarships, manage the application and selection process and ensure that the funds are sent directly to the winner’s school.
In a press release, Osburn, who was recently appointed to the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada advisory committee, noted that student debt in the U.S. alone has topped $1 trillion. Helping to solve this problem fits with Equals6’s mission to help students find the resources they need to successfully launch their careers.