The 30th Tobago International Cycle Classic (TICC) is set to peddle off Tuesday. Cyclists from across the globe are already on the island for the annual six-day cycling event.
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Crowdfunding your business dreams
In working with entrepreneurs and startups around the region, by far the main grievance aired is that they are not enough options to raise money to fund their startup dreams.
Many have been burned or even given up entirely on the traditional banking avenues. That does not leave many local alternatives in a ripe with raw creative talent, but limited in access to the capital and investment vehicles needed to translate ideas into stainable businesses. But where local options are limited, the Internet now provides a world of possibility through crowdfunding.
The rise of crowdfunding
The region’s financial institutions are, typically, are not friendly to non-traditional, intangible-asset-based undertakings, like technology startups.
Crowdfunding allows individuals or companies to raise money using online social media tools to connect to those who are most interested in funding their projects. The concept has been so successful that the crowdfunding phenomenon has quickly moved from techie buzzword to a mainstream fundraising model.
Kickstarter is one of the most referenced crowdfunding platforms. However, there are many other sites that perform similar functions, such as Crowdtilt, Indiegogo and RocketHub. A number of niche sites are also emerging like PubSlush, for aspiring authors, and Appbackr, which targets aspiring app developers.
In less than five years, Kickstarter has attracted more than five million contributors pledging close to US$1 billion, funding more than 55,000 individual projects. Rival fundraising platform Indiegogo boasts of a campaign that single-handedly generated US$12 million in pledges.