Finance Your Projects with Crowd Funding

Finance Your Projects with Crowd Funding

BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter

Sunday, April 28, 2013

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Want to raise funds for a project, but don't know where to start? Try crowd funding.

More Jamaicans have taken to sites that allow them to raise sizeable sums of money from lots of people around the world to get a project going.

Crowd funding websites also give you a chance to invest in social entrepreneurship, products, and projects that you see as beneficial and lucrative.

A Kingston based visual art initiative, NLS (New Local Space), is seeking funding to host Wilmer Wilson IV, an artist for it's first summer artist-in residence.

NLS facilitates experimentation and collaboration in visual art, connects artists to each other locally and internationally, and presents their work to the larger public.

Since launching last week on, NLS has managed to raise US$1,200 ($118,000), or 43 per cent of its US$2,750 goal so far.

The organisers have a month to reach get to their minimum, or they won't get to use any of the funds.

Wilson will be working at NLS on his project "Notes".

" It offers us a unique opportunity to engage the rich but understated aspects of our environment, and the insight that this overlooked visual information can provide," said NLS on its project page.

For NLS, having international artistes work in Jamaica is integral to the its programming.

As with most projects and businesses, crowd-funding applicants must first pitch an idea before any external support is received. After all, the capital will be raised from a crowd of strangers.

There is no clear formula for success, as crowd funding on the web is just a few years old.

But, in order to even get anyone to cash in, your project must challenge the status quo and be innovative, David Mullings told Sunday Finance in a previous interview.

He helped Do Good Jamaica raise money from the Jamaican diaspora for its Crayons Count project, which targeted the placement of learning kits in every early childhood learning centre.

But many of the more successful projects put time and effort into their pitches, often producing videos to explain the purposes and objectives of their projects.

"If a prototype cannot be shown in a video, the passion of the producer must come out instead, he said. "Make sure it looks good, not a video from your bedroom."

Executive producer of the Jamaican television show, "Talk up Yout", Emprezz Golding, has also taken to crowd funding site, GoFundMe to raise money.

The proceeds, according to Golding will go towards a movement to give Jamaican youngsters free counseling as a means of breaking the silence of child abuse and other issues.

Golding has so far raised US$150 of the US$25,000 she is targeting.

Though one may not fully reach its target through crowd funding, it increases visibility on international websites, allows entrepreneurs to pre-sell products and helps them to move quickly from a prototype to a finished product, Mullings said.

Boston-based WobbleWorks, the creators of 3Doodler, a 3D printing pen that draws in the air, initially went on KickStarter to raise US$30,000 ($2.9 million) last month.

They surpassed its funding goal and reached US$2.3 million.

In addition to clearly specifying the objectives and viability of the project, one should give constant updates to the crowd as well as incentives.

For example, persons who pledge at US$25 for NLS's project will receive a printed artwork on a post card with a personal thank you note. The more generous the offer, the more rewards sponsors usually get.

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