Global site for local crowdfunding

Those collecting funds for local projects in B.C., even for profit, now has another platform online.

CFSN’s crowdfunding platform aims at local funds for local projects

Those collecting funds for local projects in B.C., even for profit, now has another platform online.

In light of the British Columbia Securities Commission’s new crowdfunding exemptions for start-up businesses this year, Community Futures Stuart Nechako is relaunching its crowd-funding platform Investlocalbc.ca next week — in conjunction with the Business Development Bank of Canada’s annual Small Business Week to celebrate entrepreneurship.

Start-ups and early stage companies can now raise capital through crowdfunding under certain conditions, as the new regulations include a prospectus exemption for start-ups seeking to raise capital and a dealer registration exemption for persons wishing to operate a funding portal, said the securities commission in a statement.

Though the global Internet community has no shortage of crowdfunding platforms, investlocalbc.ca will have a more regional focus, said Tom Bulmer from CFSN.

“Kickstarter is for huge worldwide projects like solar roads, Indiegogo leans more towards movies and filming industries,” Bulmer said. “Ours is going to be aimed at local issues, local projects.”

Collecting funds from all interested independent individuals, the platform can filter ongoing projects by region and thus also serve as a tool for external businesses looking to invest in a certain geographical area, he said.

“It’ll be a catalogue for them,” Bulmer said. “They can look through all over the province of B.C. and look at what projects are on the go.”

He added, “More important, they’ll be able to gauge the public response to those projects.”

The platform has helped the Kiwanis Hilton Children’s Centre in Port Alberni to successfully fundraise for a new furnace in February, and has hosted the online campaign for the Vanderhoof Aquatic Centre.

“It’s a great system,” said Zoe Dhillon from the Vanderhoof Pool Society. “It’s a matter of getting people involved, engaged by it, interested in it, and spread it around.”

She added, “It’s the idea that every little bit counts.”

With the amount of funds needed for the aquatic centre, the nature of aquatic centre’s online campaign had differed from other projects posted on the platform.

“Our entire goal is $500,000…and as money comes in from different areas, the goal on the site reduced,”  Dhillon said. “It was a reverse thermometer.”

She explained that for the pool society, the website serves more as a platform to collect online donations, particularly for those who lived out of town and wanted to contribute.

In future campaigns, however, Dhillon said she will set a smaller goal with a shorter time period.

“You need to have an achievable goal to make the crowdfunding work,” she said. “So there’s a sense of urgency to hit that goal in order to get all the funds.”

She added, “We had it for over a year…credit cards expire, people forget.”

Knowing of friends who have used crowdfunding to fundraise for a variety of projects, Dhillon said it’s the funding of the future, “with everybody living online.”