Posted date: May 07, 2013
Crowdfunding (alternately crowd funding, crowd financing, equity crowdfunding, or hyper funding) describes the collective approach to raising money. Typically using the Internet, an entrepreneur or group shares their business idea to a “crowd” and provides the opportunity for individuals to contribute money to advance the business idea and receive some type of return as described by the posting entrepreneur. By raising small amounts of money from (hopefully) lots of individuals the financial goals are achieved and the project is successfully “crowdfunded“.
“Access to capital is a bigger problem in the African-American community than in non-minority communities,” said Nathan Bennett-Fleming, founder of Blackstartup.com in an interview with VentureBeat. “Crowdfunding is a powerful solution to address its unique set of challenges. I want to promote the idea of community reinvestment and provide people with a dedicated way to not only achieve innovation within the space, but also address social systemic problems.”
According to the Blackstartup.com website, “Our platform is a new tool to generate financial resources to fund ideas and to address systemic social problems facing African Americans on the local, national, and international level.” Projects can come from any field .. as long as a positive link to our community is created”.
“Cooperative economics” or Ujamaa is one of the seven principles celebrated during Kwanzaa. Bennett-Fleming is essentially bringing a practical and innovative means to the table for Blacks to apply the principle. With over $1.2 trillion in consumer spending, re-directing a fraction of these dollars to funding and growing business ventures is a worthy endeavor for the African-American community.
Says Bennett-Fleming, “Our community is under-valued and highly profitable.” “There is already a strong affinity within the community on the ground and the ability to market directly to a community that is under-marketed creates a significant value proposition. There is already a trend towards more focused, niche crowdfunding platforms. It is a vehicle to better use the tremendous consumer and wealth power of a specific community to take on its challenges.”