Like-minded folk coming together to back worthy causes and innovative start-ups. We like this. We like this a lot.
Crowdfunding or crowdsourcing are terms we are beginning to hear more and more of. The recent rise of the sharing economy has seen the use of crowdfunding explode into life.
The idea of ‘crowdfunding’ is that a number of individuals (a crowd) pool their money to offer support to an array of different projects that may tickle one’s fancy; exciting new start-ups, to more established initiatives and organisations.
A number of websites have helped facilitate this crowdfunding movement online, such as Seedrs, Kickstarter and Crowd Funder, who have made it easy for people to pitch their unique ideas to a wide audience.
A number of really innovative and exciting food-related projects are beginning to pop up across the country and many are sourcing their financial backing through crowdfunding.
A Birmingham based initiative Urban Harvest are crowdfunding a project which aims to collect the many tonnes of unpicked fruit that are left on plants and trees from people’s gardens and community land. The idea is that some of that picked fruit is turned into pickles, jams or left as it is, and then given to local food banks, and children’s centres to promote healthy eating. The rest is used to generate income to run the initiative again in 2014 and beyond.
Other initiatives such as The Bakehouse - a freshly baked bread delivery service, and Manchester Veg People - a cooperative of local food growers and buyers, have seen success through their use of crowdfunding.
In return for funding, backers are often rewarded with first dibs on the product or service itself, but sometimes they are offered equity in the form of shares.
The Scottish craft beer brewers BrewDog’s ’Equity for Punks’ scheme allows people to buy small chunks of equity and help spur their 'craft beer revolution’, own part of BrewDog, lifetime discounts on their products and in their bars and invites to annual shareholder events.
This kind of crowdfunding has been used in more local settings too. Recently, a community in Bamford have been helping their struggling village pub, The Anglers Rest, by clubbing together to buy the freehold of the pub through community share options. The aim is to then turn it into a thriving and lively pub and bunkhouse which caters for the communities needs and to attract new trade and interest into the area.
(via The Guardian)
This is just a tiny selection of a shed-load of incredibly innovative projects springing up across the UK who are using crowdfunding to develop.
Definitely watch this space!