Crowdfunding for the Black Community
Crowdfunding is essentially the opposite of the mainstream approach to business finance. Traditionally, if you want to raise capital to start a business, launch a new product, or develop real estate you would need to pack up your business plan, market research, and prototypes, and then shop your idea around to a limited pool or wealthy individuals or institutions.
These funding sources included banks, angel investors, and venture capital firms, really limiting your options to a few key players. In the Black community, the number of Black founders obtaining funding from these sources is dismal at best. Black Americans’ entrepreneurial experiences contrast dramatically with these groups. Modern disadvantages experienced by blacks include racial segregation, low levels of earnings, lack of wealth, poor education, lack of experience in a family business, employer discrimination and difficulty in getting a loan.
In April 2000, a congressional study found that “Most banks largely ignored African-American neighborhoods, even those with above-average incomes,” forcing many blacks to depend on expensive and abusive lenders. In addition, while the average white family’s wealth in 2009 was $113,000, the average black family’s wealth was a fraction of that, $5,700. These liabilities make it harder for blacks than other groups to obtain loans, lines of credits and other financial services which are crucial to starting and running a business.
You can think of this fundraising approach as a funnel, with you and your pitch at the wide end and your audience of investors at the closed end. Fail to point that funnel at the right investor or firm at the right time, and that’s your time and money lost.
Crowdfunding platforms, on the other hand, turns that funnel upside down. By giving, the entrepreneur, a single platform to build, showcase, and share your pitch resources, this approach dramatically streamlines the traditional model. With crowdfunding, it’s much easier for you to get your opportunity in front of more interested parties and give them more ways to help grow your business, from investing thousands in exchange for equity to contributing $20 in exchange for a first-run product or other rewards.
The 5 Benefits of Crowdfunding
- Reach – By using a crowdfunding platform like Buy The Block, you have access to thousands of non-accredited and accredited investors who can see, interact with, and share your fundraising campaign.
- Presentation – By creating a crowdfunding campaign, you go through the invaluable process of looking at your business from the top level—its history, traction, offerings, addressable market, value proposition, and more—and boiling it down into a polished, easily digestible package.
- PR & Marketing – From launch to close, you can share and promote your campaign through social media, email newsletters, and other online marketing tactics. As other media outlets cover the progress of your fundraising, you can double down by steering traffic to your website and other company resources.
- Proof of Concept – Presenting your concept or business to the masses affords an excellent opportunity to validate and refine your offering. As potential investors begin to express interest and ask questions, you’ll quickly see if there’s something missing that would make them more likely to buy in.
- Efficiency – One of the best things about online crowdfunding is its ability to centralize and streamline your fundraising efforts. By building a single, comprehensive profile to which you can funnel all your prospects and potential investors, you eliminate the need to pursue each of them individually. So instead of duplicating efforts by printing documents, compiling binders, and manually updating each one when there’s an update, you can present everything online in a much more accessible format, leaving you with more time to run your business instead of fundraising.