Innovation That Matters

Crowdfunding investment for social enterprises

Nonprofit & Social Cause

We’ve featured many crowdfunding efforts in recent years, from software projects to breweries. Meanwhile, online lending platform Kiva has sourced millions of dollars in small loans to developing countries. Now, combining elements of both, we’ve spotted a new platform that will enable small to medium sized social enterprises to raise funds from people around the world. Due to launch in February 2011, 33needs operates in much the same way that Kickstarter does for the creative community, but instead turns the focus entirely on social enterprises — allowing ordinary people to invest, make a social impact, and earn a return. Social entrepreneurs begin by applying to the 33needs investment committee, providing information and an introductory video to their project. If they are accepted then they can select a 30 or 60 day period within which to raise a chosen amount, using built-in sharing tools to promote their cause. If the goal is reached, then funding pledges are transferred into investment, minus 5% for 33needs. If the fundraising falls short of its target, then no money changes hands. 33needs sidesteps restrictive US securities legislation by offering a revenue sharing agreement to investors rather than an exchange of security. The site has already received applications from over 700 enterprises keen to be featured. Clearly there’s a healthy demand from entrepreneurs, and there’s certainly a growing mass of socially-conscious consumers out there to provide the necessary funding. What can you do to bring the two together?



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