Crowdfunding Goes Local


When Jay Ducote, a husky Louisiana food blogger, entrepreneur and radio personality, received a $1,000 grant last May from local microfunding venture225 Fund, he knew already what he was going to spend it on: extra hard drives.

Ducote, a 2011 MasterChef competitor, had been creating an Internet TV series about his quest to become healthier while still making a living as a food and drink writer, and he had run into a problem. The high-definition digital footage his filmmaker was shooting took up a huge amount of hard-drive space. The money from 225 Fund allowed him to buy the extra space he needed.

“225 Fund is basically a group of 10 guys who believe in doing charitable things for our community, which is Baton Rouge, Louisiana,” says Tommy Talley, the videographer for Ducote’s show, who later became a member of the fund as his way of helping the businesses in his hometown. “Ten of us donate $100 a month and we hand it to them as $1,000 cash and walk away.”

The microfunding venture gives out one no-strings-attached grant nearly every month. “It’s young entrepreneurs putting money directly in the hands of go-getting entrepreneurs,” Talley explains. “No piles of paper, no jumping through a bunch of hoops.”

Ducote isn’t the only one benefiting from local investment. Around the world, grassroots microfunding ventures are springing up to support entrepreneurs and creative people in their communities. Whereas crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo accept almost any kind of campaign and permit donations from all over the world, microfunding operations deal with smaller amounts of money and seek to have a more local impact.

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