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Crowdfunding Platform for Emerging Social Entrepreneurs

17 April 2013 at 10:08 am
Staff Reporter
A new crowdfunding initiative is set to help emerging social entrepreneurs quickly attract seed capital, build a supporter base and raise the profile of their social ventures internationally.

Staff Reporter | 17 April 2013 at 10:08 am


Crowdfunding Platform for Emerging Social Entrepreneurs
17 April 2013 at 10:08 am

A new crowdfunding initiative is set to help emerging social entrepreneurs quickly attract seed capital, build a supporter base and raise the profile of their social ventures internationally.

The initiative, called Dreamstarter, is a collaboration between popular crowdfunding site StartSomeGood, the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and ING DIRECT and will reportedly work to break down traditional fundraising barriers.

Veronica Scott with blackstone bush soap. Photo: Rhett Hammerton.

In its inaugural round, Dreamstarter will give ten social ventures the opportunity to raise between $10,000 and $50,000 as well as receive support from ING DIRECT.

Chief executive of The School for Social Entrepreneurs, Celia Hodson, says she is excited about the ability of the Dreamstarter campaign to fast track the development of Australia’s social entrepreneurs and their enterprises.

“Dreamstarter will allow these inspirational Australian entrepreneurs to instantly tap into an international community of engaged supporters at StartSomeGood and with the backing of ING DIRECT will also open doors to further support from with their staff, clients and community,” Hodson said.

“We also hope to inspire others to get involved and realise their dreams for setting up social change initiatives in their communities.”

The first three ventures to go live on the site include a project to connect remote Aboriginal entrepreneurs to new markets via an online store (Enterprise Learning Projects), an initiative to help rural communities in Malawi to achieve greater self-sufficiency (Empower), and a campaign to publish a series of children's books and digital apps to inspire connections through creativity (A Girl in the World).

According to StartSomeGood cofounder Tom Dawkins, Dreamstarter is also the first time in Australia a corporation has supported a crowdfunding platform designed specifically for social change projects.

“Crowdfunding is a participatory model that democratises corporate philanthropy. The projects that will succeed are those that have a genuine mandate from the community,” Dawkins said.

SSE Australia says that all ten ventures to go live on the Dreamstarter site have been developed by its graduates.

Applications are now open online to be a part of the Dreamstarter program.

Chief executive of ING DIRECT, Vaughn Richtor, says he believes it was a natural fit to support the Dreamstarter initiative.

“At ING DIRECT we strongly support innovative projects that address real community needs. Being a direct bank we see great potential in leveraging the digital medium in this way.”

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One comment

  • Anonymous says:

    I want to find people who will join with me in constructive projects – like participating in some community development projects – I am keen to go to Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea

    I have heard of “crowd financing” but do not know how to do that – any takers or interested parties? I need help….. I am prepared to sell my boat for 6kg of gold bullion, or to put my boat up as collateral… to fund the project.

    Improve the returns for coconut growers.
    Effectively utilise all ‘waste’ by-products.
    Facilitate and enhance opportunities in pig raising for livestock sale.
    Facilitate poultry farming for eggs and live table bird sale.
    Make opportunities for a small coastal boat wharf, warehouse-store, trade-store/shop a viable business.
    Core business #1 being coconut oil expeller system factory producing ‘cold pressed coconut oil’ in 600ml jars labelled with a photo of the grower and packaged into cartons locally for export.
    Core business #2 being expelling coconut oil for local consumption to drive diesel engines, make soap and cooking oils etc
    In conjunction with electric power generation.
    In conjunction with a workshop to maintain the plant and machinery.
    In conjunction with a tractor/trailer transport system.
    Piggery to utilise “copra-meal” as feedstock to sell live pigs for meat & ceremony
    Poultry to utilise “copra-meal” as feedstock to sell eggs and live birds for meat

    How it all works
    Local copra, when exported is a lost opportunity as the by-product known as “copra meal” is wasted whereas, when retained by the community it becomes an excellent base feedstock to grow out pigs and poultry. I feel that for remote island communities expelling the oil from coconut meat is the way of the future.

    It also follows that, with this semi-centralised oil expelling process operated by killed and trained local workers, – then, there will be lots of shell and husk and other dry matter to justify endeavouring to follow the example of the ancient Amazonian Indians of more than 1000 years ago to create “Terra-preta”, a method to enhance impoverished and leached soils.

    Research & discussion suggests that pyrolysis of waste from the piggery and poultry sheds may also be treated with great benefit when added to the bio-char from woody materials. This is by using the properties of ‘activated’ charcoal and inoculated with goodness by maturing with compost and other treated waste products and on maturity, applying it to the soils, denuded of most nutrients over time with slash and burn subsistence farming, will result in great positive effect and benefit to the soils and communityproductivity.

    The by-product of expelling coconut oil is called “copra meal’ and makes a useful feedstock for pigs and poultry making a complete circle of sustainable products.

    What is marketed is coconut oils, (higher value exports/cash crop) as well as pigs and poultry being fed to produce meat and eggs (local market for cash and trade) as well as cleaning up the ‘leftover’, to be used as fertiliser (local benefit), and soil enhancement products.

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