Women entrepreneurs of New York: your city wants to invest in you.
New York City officials hope to support at least 500 women-owned businesses over three years. The only requirement is that they live in NYC.
The partnership was described as a “first-of-its-kind city-led crowdfunding program” aimed at helping women entrepreneurs access affordable capital in New York City. And it could point the way to more collaboration between cities, which view entrepreneurs as vital to their success, and crowdfunding sites that help these vital job creators raise funding—especially those who have struggled to access capital.
“Leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs will help grow and diversify our economy, and strengthen our families and neighborhoods,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “With Kiva, we will help launch small businesses that might otherwise never get off the ground.”
That includes entrepreneurs like Truc Nguyen, the owner of Brooklyn-based Better Beast, who was among the first women to use the program. Her Kiva campaign seeks $10,000 to ramp up production of her protein-packed peanut butter products.
Kiva, a nonprofit, lets entrepreneurs crowdfund up to $10,000 in zero-interest loans—borrowers pay their lenders back the principal, but no interest. Like most crowdfunding sites, Kiva uses an “all or nothing” approach: if the campaign does not meet its minimum funding target, the entrepreneur does not receive any proceeds, including NYC funds.
The first 10% to 20% is critical in creating momentum for a crowdfunding campaign, acting as a signal that can attract a wider range of backers. Many small entrepreneurs struggle to gain that first backing, either because they don’t have a network with disposable income or they are hesitant to ask. Early support from the city should increase the likelihood of successful campaigns.
“This collaboration with Kiva.org is simple and smart,” said Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development.
If You Can Make it Here[…]
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