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CROWD FUNDING PLATFORMS FOR SUSTAINABILITY IDEAS

Occasionally we get asked by clients for our recommendations for keeping up to date with sustainability issues. I found writing a blog is a better tool for putting forth the sustainability ideas and the recent buzz going around of crowd funding platforms. Around the world people are pledging money to help get projects they believe in off the ground, opening up a whole new funding channels for social enterprises and sustainable solutions – and its called crowd funding. A recent report by Massolution revealed that in 2011 that there were 452 crowd funding platforms worldwide. They generated $1.5 billion for over 1 million campaigns – predicted to rise to $2.8 billion in 2012. I recently came across a 2009 climate change documentary “Age of Stupid” which was funded by over 600 supporters, another NGO 10:10’s solar school project aimed to aid schools to crowd fund for solar panels.

Across the world where banks are increasingly reluctant to offer loans to small and medium-sized businesses, crowd funding looks to be a good news for renewable energy and other companies operating in the ‘green’ sector – offering a chance for new technologies to attract the finance they need to grow.“For example on Kickstarter [a crowd funding website] there is a project called Pebble Watch. They tried the traditional funding route and were rejected by venture capitalists – instead they went directly to the community and let the market speak for it.” Another example is Startsomethinggood.com which is a platform which aims to fund initiatives for social good – whether that be non-profit or profit based projects – around the world. Bristol’s Demand Energy Equity aims to run educational workshops to create solar panels to fit a solar tree design (Source: Demand Energy Equity).

Peoplefund.it another project example which is a joint venture between Demand Energy Equality and Edible Futures based in Bristol aims to make a solar tree which will power a rain-fed irrigation system at the Edible Futures’ nursery. The pledged money will help fund workshops where the local community can learn to build solar PV panels – which will then form the leaves of the tree.

Innovation and sustainability – Crowd Funding

In the upstart world of social media, crowd sourcing and crowd funding have established themselves as two of the most creative forces for innovation, and the best example of it is Kickstarter (2009) which has just hit the UK, creating businesses and sparking innovation around the triple bottom line of sustainability – people, planet, and profit. Adding on the list includes RocketHub, IndieGoGo (2008) and by 2012, there were over 450 crowd funding platforms on niches important to startups that focus on business and sustainability embedded within.

There are a plethora of platforms going around various websites and some of the best read green crowd funding platforms which I came across at http://www.greenentrepreneurship.com/green-crowdfunding-platforms/ are

1.Greencrowd – Netherlands-based Greencrowd is founded to accelerate the realization of sustainable energy projects.

2.GreenUnite (USA) crowd funding platform launched by Crowdnetics, GreenUnite aims at funding US-based eco-friendly projects as well as educating the world about green topics such as global warming, cleantech and organic gardening.

3.GreenFunder (USA) Launched in May 2011, GreenFunder is a global crowd funding site for green and socially responsible projects.

4.Oneplanetcrowd (Netherlands) has almost financed € 1 million for 17 successful projects with a focus on sustainability.

5.The Green Crowd (Australia) Australia-based, the Green Crowd focuses on arts, community and technology within the green niche.

6.Greenvolved (USA) Launched in August 2013, Greenvolved is an online startup building a crowd funding platform matching concerned customers to companies willing to fund environmental projects.

7.Mission Crowdfund is a sustainability focused crowd funding platform. It is has a choice to either support a cause, idea or project or to submit a project for donation in order to help make it happen. Mission Crowdfund focuses on sustainable initiatives in the following sectors: Sustainable Agriculture, Community Supported Enterprise, Education, Renewable Energy, Water & Environment, Financial Services, Health & Wellness, Affordable & Green Housing, Responsible Enterprise and Arts & Culture Source: http://www.missionmarkets.com/mission-crowdfund/user-guide

8.“eKutir” in India creates first of its kind crowd funding platform for smallholder farmers. One Acre Venture through eKutir is a value chain finance option that is bringing economic and social capital for India’s largely ignored 96 million smallholder farmers.

9.Sunny Crowd for Renewable Energy is the first crowd funding platform for sustainable energy, in which each with a small amount of renewable energy projects can participate online. Source: http://cleantechnica.com/2012/11/23/sunny-crowd-claims-to-be-1st-crowdfunding-platform-for-renewable-energy/

Sustainable Startups

Companies based on sustainable products or services — such as Peppermint, which makes a solar generator about the size of a laptop computer — are finding that crowd-funding platforms can give them something traditional financing can’t. The campaign surpassed its $25,000 goal in five days and garnered $83,000 in a month. Source:http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/upstarts/sustainable-startups-finding-more-cash-crowd-funding-platforms

Top Platforms for Crowd funding Social Change
http://www.reconomy.org/top-40-platforms-for-crowdfunding-social-change/

1.Open source platform, Akvo is primarily for Water and Sanitation projects.

2.Trillion Fund, a crowdfuding platform for renewable energy projects. Their goal is to help direct a Trillion dollars of investment into renewable energy projects over the next 10 years.

3.Abundance Generation makes investing in UK renewable energy projects really affordable.

4.Peoplefund.it launched in 2011 focusses on “business ideas that might just change the world” and their aim was “to launch a generation of entrepreneurs, businesses and charities who are commercially sustainable and have social innovation at their heart”.

5.ioby the crowd-resourcing website helps bring environmental ideas to life.

6.CloudFunded is a finance platform for local and sustainable business you know and trust.

7.SunFunder is a crowd funding platform connecting investors to high-impact solar projects in off-grid communities around the world.

8.AgFunder brings equity crowd funding to sustainable agriculture

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