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Crowdfunding Site Focuses on the Monadnock Region
 
Published Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A crowdfunding site targeting five Monadnock region towns went live in February, helping local businesses and organizations connect with local donors. The Local Crowd Monadnock is one of 13 nationwide pilot sites set up to demonstrate how crowdfunding can serve as an economic development tool in rural areas. The project is managed by The Local Crowd, a Wyoming-based company, and funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Small Business Innovation Research grant.

The first campaigns will each initially seek no more than $10,000 each. Unlike popular crowdfunding sites Indiegogo and Kickstarter, companies and organizations can keep whatever they raise, regardless of reaching their funding goal. Once someone reaches a third of their goal, they can increase the goal. If they raise their entire goal, the administrative fee for the site is waived.

“We would be happy to have three or four [campaigns] that first month. But our ultimate goal is one project that demonstrates what the platform can do. We really want to showcase how it would further along some business initiatives and the triple bottom line,” of social, environmental and financial good, says Jen Risley, executive director of Monadnock Buy Local, one of a number or organizations working on this project.

The site is hosted by The Southwest Regional Planning Commission, and the platform is managed by a team of community and business leaders from Monadnock Buy Local, the NH Small Business Development Center, the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, the Monadnock Economic Development Corporation and the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship, all in Keene.

Risley says the site is an important way to help growing businesses without access to traditional funding secure financing for new projects that might not otherwise happen. The crowdfunding platform is open to businesses and organizations in Chesterfield, Hinsdale, Keene, Swanzey and Winchester.

In 2015, the National Small Business Association noted that 27 percent of small businesses were unable to access capital to fund the growth of their business as traditional lenders reject 80 percent of small business loan applications. Closer to home, the NH Small Business Development Center (NH SBDC) notes 45 percent of businesses it works with are looking for capital at any given time.

“Often these companies are not quite ready for conventional financing or need only a small amount of debt or equity leveraged by their own personal investment to start or grow the business,” says Nancy DuBosque from the Keene office of the NH SBDC. “We see entrepreneurs struggle to financially bootstrap their business at these early stages, or fail to grow in the absence of sources of flexible and smaller capital investments.”

Risley would like to expand the project to the tri-county area in Southwestern NH, which spans NH, Vermont and Massachusetts.

For more information, visit monadnocklocal.org/TLC.


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