by Linda Straker
A number of small and medium size business entrepreneurs, who are linked directly or indirectly to the creative industries, were this week provided with a better understanding about the process and format for sourcing funds through the crowd-funding concept.
The Caribbean Performing Arts Federation (C-PAF), in collaboration with the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Competitive Business Unit (OECS-CBU), and the Barbados based Crowd-Funding Platform, VisionFunder, conducted the Business Training Activity which was held at the Coyaba Hotel conference room.
It was “a 2-day e-Business [crowd-funding] workshop on innovative/creative SME financing geared towards advancing the e-Commerce agenda of the OECS territories for SMEs across the region,” said Sandra James, Operations/Program Director of the Federation.
She explained that this initiative intends to bring together our diverse cultures in a way using the uniqueness of our music and theatrical performances, allowing performing artistes to hone their talent initially within the OECS, in preparation for taking full advantage of available export opportunities within wider CARICOM and internationally.
The Grenada session is 1 of 6 sessions being undertaken by the Federation. They began on 28 & 29 September in Antigua, and will conclude on 13 November in St Lucia. It is being funded under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), Economic Integration and Trade of the OECS Region programme.
Judy McCutcheon, C-PAF Grenada Country Director, said that the workshop falls under the Federation’s Financial Development Pillar. “Our research indicated that an important component challenging the development of the sector has been access to finance, because most financial institutions consider the creative industries specifically, and the services sector in general as “high risk”. They tend not to want to lend money to persons and organizations involved in these sectors. As a result, many creatives have to self-fund their projects, which limits their abilities to even start, develop, and expand or export,” she said.
Consultant to the project is Adrian Reid, who explained the workings of the VisionFunder — the only crowd funding platform in the Caribbean. The Participants were exposed to the process of developing a campaign, before and during placement on the website. “There must be some things that have to be done correctly, such as a pre-launch strategy,” said Reid, who explained that data has shown that the crowd-funding failure rate is 43%.
He explained that there are many reasons for the failure of projects, but all projects must offer something to the crowd to make them become interesting. “If the crowd-funding project does not offer value to the crowd, then the crowd will not find it. Projects need to solve problems,” he advised.