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Tapping the Crowd

Tapping the Crowd

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Published by Crowdsourcing.org

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Published by: Crowdsourcing.org on Jan 12, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/03/2013

 
Tapping the Crowd
Samantha Beinhacker and Josh Tetrick look at howcrowdfunding is flipping the traditional funding model onits head and powering the next wave of social enterprises
Jan 11, 2011
Crowdfunding -- the collective cooperation by people whonetwork and pool their money together -- is here. And theimplications, from technology to community-powered renewableenergy to political campaigns or to financing the next wave of social enterprises, are immense. The Obama campaign, through harnessing small contributionsfrom millions of supporters, fueled a funding phenomenon alreadytaking hold in the art and music worlds. Social entrepreneurs are taking notice. Meet, Katie Meyler. She's starting a social enterprise, More ThanMe, to employ and provide free education to woman in post-conflict Liberia. The women help design and manufacture smart-phone and laptop cases, initially to be sold at college campusstores. The slum where the woman live, called West Point, isinfamous for gang rapes, child prostitution, and machete-inflicted
 
violence. Katie recently spent a month knocking on the doors of factoriesand asking them to employ and pay a living wage to the Liberianwomen on her team. "Ten said no, but one said yes," she said. First step accomplished, but when When Katie needed to raisemoney for raw materials, she decided to tap her social networkfor $50,000 in startup capital via a crowdfunding website, insteadof seeking a loan at a bank or approaching traditional investors. Why? "Raising money through our awesome community of supporters aligns with what we're about," said Meyler. "I don'thave the first clue how to raise money from big-time investors,but I know hundreds of people who believe in us. I knowhundreds of people who want to connect -- even in a small way --to our work in Liberia." She added, "I know how to stay up allnight and use Facebook and Twitter to energize people, and thathas been the key to our crowdfunding success." Thousands of social entrepreneurs are in need of a disruptivefinancial innovation; a way to connect with the with the vast poolof capital in the hands of our friends, our family, and the growingnumber of people who believe social entrepreneurship allows fora deeper, more sustained impact than traditional models. For

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