I’ve been thoroughly investigating the new, and it turns out even more revolutionary than we’d thought, small business funding model called crowdfunding. I already suspected that it had great promise for entrepreneurs, inventors and business people. It does. However, it has another potential that has not yet been realised or exploited. It can get the right amounts of money directly to the right businesses without the permission or agency of the banks – the exact thing we need to get the economy moving in the right direction.
Crowdfunding has the potential to short-circuit the economic system as we know it and get life-blood right to where it is needed in the economy. Better yet, the money can come from existing spending – but could also, with a little ingenuity, be accelerated by government money.
At present, the model is still in its infancy in the UK, although it has a spectaularly successful track record elsewhere and in the creative sector. But it’s now clear to me (and I’m far from alone in this) that crowdfunding can and will disrupt finance as we know it. It’s already clear that it’s the next wave of the web (following the disruption of publishing and social media). Left to itself it could take two or three years – longer if we plunge into a deep recession – to mature to the point when it can make any significant impact. We don’t have the time and we don’t need to take that risk.
We need a crowdfunding revolution now. We already have the kind of society that I at least thought had gone forever with Victorian times. Where working people need food parcels to feed their families and there are no jobs for the increasing numbers of barely employed and unemployed (masked by a clever system that accounts every part-time job as a sustainable living).
We need to accelerate and channel the tectonic shift which is crowdfunding to do the most good in the shortest time. We’ve been playing the game by the old rules, but the rules have changed. That’s why the levers are broken – or even, as we’ve seen, working in the opposite way to that expected and intended.
We need to work out the new rules fast, and start to play by them to turn this thing around. The solution is now with the crowd.
So learn about crowdfunding. Try it out. Support a business or two – start with tiny amounts of £10 or so to get something you want or need. Get your business engaged, learn how to raise the finance you need by crowdfunding something yourself.
Even if your’re skeptical (and I wouldn’t blame you) look into it, just in case it could work and make a difference. The government and the IMF remain powerless and there’s precious little else you can do that might make a difference. It could make all the difference to your business – not to mention the nation. So try it.
Barry E. James is CEO at Angel Revolutions.
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