by Melissa Stewart Sponsored by Pave.com
Do you have a dream? Not those crazy stories that play out in your head when you sleep but a million dollar vision you want to turn into a living, breathing startup? You know, like recording a great CD, launching the next big social network that takes the world by storm, or being the next Sara Blakely and creating your own Spanx-like empire? Never hurts to dream BIG, right?
But why just dream? Because turning your dream into a reality is expensive? Well, scratch that excuse off your list and say hello to crowdfunding!
What is crowdfunding? In a nutshell, it’s when people come together to invest directly in a project or person’s idea.
There are a lot of crowdfunding options out there, the most notable being Kickstarter and Indiegogo but new and exciting options are popping up so take note.
I was recently asked to review a new crowdfunding platform called Pave. Pave connects those who hold the purse strings with talented and innovative people from all over the world. Unlike a loan or the variety of other crowdfunding platforms, financers seek out innovators and invest in their futures. Many of these investors are already successful in the field they are funding and available for questions, guidance, and networking opportunities!
Lack of financing holds SO many women entrepreneurs back! Money is a key ingredient to growing companies. To quote Geri Stengel in her recent Forbes post:
“Despite the obvious link between money and growth, the majority of the nearly 14 million women entrepreneurs under-nourish their companies and raise runts.”
A Department of Commerce survey of women-owned companies across the U.S. noted that women-owned firms start and grow businesses with substantially less outside financing. Crowdfunding could be a game-changer emerging as a progressive place for women entrepreneurs!
Why crowdfund? Why not? Women do not have the same access to capital and crowdfunding taps a crowd! Reliable estimates of the crowdfuning industry’s size are hard nail down, but one research outlet, Massolution, predicted $5 billion would be raised in 2013 through crowdfunding, up from $2.7 billion in 2012. What do numbers like that mean? Crowdfunding makes dreams come true.
So what are some of the things that jumped out at me when reviewing Pave?
- I love their tagline “Pave turns talent into an asset” How amazing is that? YOUR TALENT = ASSET. So many entrepreneurs have the talent but lack the capital, mentorship, and guidance. Pave connects you to the people that can help you turn your dream into a reality.
- Another awesome and unique feature of Pave is the “groups” aspect of the platform. Recognizing our natural, human tendency to seek out other people who are like us or whom we find interesting, Pave unleashed group investing. This allows women entrepreneurs to band together as a group with a shared business idea and allows investors to invest in the group as a whole, diversifying their investment portfolio. It allows people with common goals or background to affiliate themselves with the group and makes it more likely for investors to find their project and fund it.
- Pave just announced a women entrepreneurs group that strives to find and fund talented women with big ideas. The requirements for acceptance, outside of Pave’s standard requirements, are pretty simple. You have to be a woman and you have to have founded an organization with a staff of less than ten people. Women who wish to participate also need to be using Pave funding to refinance their personal debt or pay expenses as they build up their company. If you qualify, you’re in and you join the ranks of women taking control of their aspirations and their lives by finding new ways to change the world on a local and global scale.
Bottom line? You have A LOT of options when it comes to crowdfunding your dream. Do your homework, and Pave might be the right fit for you. Keep in mind that it’s not for everyone and it’s not the only option. If crowdfunding is the way to go for you, choosing the right crowdfunding site is crucial. Be aware of the fees, and the rewards, perks and benefits for each site. Also, be reasonable with your funding goals. And don’t make the HUGE mistake of leaving the marketing to your crowdfunding sites. Crowdfunding requires dedication and hustle!!
Recommended read: How To Create A Kick Ass Crowdfunding Campaign And Make Your Dreams Come True by Natalie Sissom
*This post contains sponsored links from Pave.com
Melissa Stewart has had a “home office” since age 5. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, addicted to coffee and eternally optimistic. Her latest project https://sheownsit.com/ is a site committed to empowering women entrepreneurs by offering resources, support and inspiration. @melissaonline