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INNOVATORS GO ONLINE FOR FUNDING

open-innovation-africaThe Internet revolution – for that’s what it has been – has changed the world and bought along new ways of meeting peoples’ needs, adding to and replacing traditional ways.

HAVE YOU HEARD OF CROWDFUNDING?

One of the new innovations birthed through the internet is “crowdfunding” which is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, via the internet.

There are many crowdfunding sites across the internet with different models with the aim of funding all manner of things from hospital bills, weddings, businesses, campaigns, music etc.

KICKSTARTER

One of the top crowdfunding websites is kickstarter.com whose mission is to help bring creative projects to life. The site has reportedly received more than $1.5 billion in pledges from 7.8 million backers to fund 200,000 creative projects, which range from films, music, and stage shows, to comics, journalism, video games, and food-related projects among others.

This concept has not really been picked up on a large scale in Kenya as yet, though some Kenyans have successfully benefited from the initiative.

From the number of applications made by Kenyans or from Kenya, 39 of them have been successful with the majority however being unsuccessful but if you look at the site it is possible to learn as much from the failures as the successes.

SUCCESS STORY

One of the most successful crowfunding campaigns was the BRCK project by Ushahidi. The innovation was undoubtedly creative and even caught the eyes of the main stream media across the world. By the time they pitched for funding, BRCK were already known and as a result they were over-funded by 137%, surpassing their target which was $125,000.

The BRCK works much the way your cell phone does, by intelligently and seamlessly switching between Ethernet, Wifi, and 3G or 4G mobile phone networks. By plugging in a SIM card or connecting to a wired or wireless Ethernet connection the BRCK will automatically get online. Power is also redundant; if your AC power fails, BRCK falls back on its 8-hour battery without needing to be told.

HOW TO GET FUNDING

Most of the successfully funded projects have been attributed to creativity in coming up with projects that can be shared with others across the world, well thought out presentation, social media campaign to get traffic to your profile and also attractive rewards for backers. Kickstarter.com prohibit charity projects among other things like offensive materials, gambling, energy drinks etc. (See rules and regulations).

There are other popular crowdfunding websites with different models like gofundme.com, indiegogo.com, teespring.com, youcaring.com, causes.com, crowdrise.com, giveforward.com, patreon.com, firstgiving.com among others.

President Kenyatta declared winner.

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