The Local Crowd (https://www.thelocalcrowd.com), a locally-focused crowdfunding platform, has selected four rural communities to serve as Demonstration Sites for a USDA funded research project.

The Local Crowd’s platform offers features and educational programs designed to help rural communities activate entrepreneurial ecosystems and spur local investment. The two-year USDA Small Business Innovation Research grant will support the launch of 15 Demonstration Sites, with the ultimate goal of commercializing a new tool that provides better access to capital for businesses and organizations across rural America.

The four communities selected to be Demonstration Sites are Monroe, Georgia; Muskogee, Oklahoma; Newton, North Carolina; and 3CORE Inc., California (serving Tehama, Butte and Glenn Counties). They will join the communities selected in the first three rounds of applications including Bozeman, Montana; Butte, Montana; Laramie, Wyoming; Lower Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Texas; Golden Hills, Iowa; Goshen, Indiana; Monadnock Region, New Hampshire; Oregon, Illinois; Sauk Valley Region, Illinois; Teton Valley, Idaho; and Wood County, Wisconsin.

“We are thrilled to be working with such a strong group of dedicated, diverse and visionary communities,” said Diane Wolverton, Co-Founder and CEO of The Local Crowd. “During the review process, each community team submitted a vision statement about how being a Demonstration Site would impact their community. These vision statements capsulized their commitment to ‘mobilize individuals to invest in their towns, empower people to create wealth, develop funding options for businesses and bring people together for a common goal.” We are looking forward to great results from this dynamic and extremely motivated team!”

The Demonstration Site teams recently began a six-week online training program to introduce them to the crowdfunding software and support successful implementation of the platform. The target date for launch within each of the communities is late 2017.

graphic map showing The Local Crowd demonstration sites across 13 states

Larta Institute, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the commercialization of innovations, released their annual report this week. The report profiles the work of six of their portfolio companies including The Local Crowd.

The Local Crowd founders have worked with Larta Institute consultants to develop commercialization plans and strategies as part of their Phase I and Phase II USDA Small Business Innovation Research Grants. “Larta consultants have provided us a step-by-step process that helped to put flesh and bones on our vision. The process moved us forward in our planning, decision making and business development,” said TLC Co-Founder Diane Wolverton.

Larta Report about The Social Entrepreneur featuring The Local Crowd

The Larta Annual Report explained how they selected the featured companies. “We profile companies in our portfolio whose success demonstrates our influence and their impact on society. They run the gamut of real-world solutions, using the tools of science and technology: diagnosing citrus greening, promoting cancer cell death, transforming CO2 into valuable products, retarding the spread of rodents, and empowering rural communities through crowdfunding. They do us proud.”

Wolverton commented, “It’s an honor to be part of this report. It really emphasizes the great work of our partner communities and the need to bring financial resources to rural America.”

See the full report: Larta Institute 2016 Annual Report

January 25, 2017 — Seed-Crowdfunding provided 40% more funding to UK businesses and startups in 2016 than the government funded Startup Loans program.

According to a report by The Crowd Data Center, which has collected extensive data on 500,000 crowdfunds, this newer source of business funding is now rivalling banks, lending, angels and equity as a better way to fund new businesses, products and services, not to mention jobs and growth. And it does so without placing a debt burden on businesses and startups.

infographic describing seed crowdfunding in 2016

The report has been welcomed by Barry Sheerman MP, who says this finding has profound implications for UK businesses, entrepreneurs and government.

“We have defined ‘Seed-Crowdfunding’ as the use of ‘rewards based” platforms to fund the creation of new businesses, products and services” said Barry James, CEO of The Crowd Data Center. “Until now, ‘rewards crowdfunding’ as it’s often known has been mostly associated with charitable and community funding.

“Now we have the full 2016 data this makes possible a direct comparison with Startup-Loans revealing that businesses are being better funded, and at a lower risk to all involved.

“What’s more, Seed-Crowdfunding is ready to move out of the early adopter stage so, with the right support, could overtake more traditional forms of funding, trebling in size and impact over the next two or three years.”

Barry Sheerman MP commented: “I chair the all-party parliamentary group which has supported the development of crowdfunding through it’s early stages and so I can tell you that the 2016 data and this finding provide a very significant milestone with profound implications for UK businesses, entrepreneurs and government.

“Not least because while a huge investment has been made in Startup-Loans, Seed-Crowdfunding has been entirely self funding – and has huge scope for growth across the UK, without burdening taxpayers.”

And he pledged: “We will be seeking to improve recognition and business advice on this as well as additional means to support what is one of the most important of developments for UK entrepreneurs and entrepreneurialism in a generation.”

Kerrie Dorman is founder of the Association of Business Mentors. She said credible business mentors should be in the know regarding raising finance via Seed-Crowdfunding.

“We should be all over this for our clients and advising them accordingly. Otherwise we’re missing available opportunities on their behalf.”

The Crowd Data Center is the world’s observatory on the crowd economy and collecting data from across the world on thousands of live crowdfunds each day.

infographic of total funds raised through crowdfunding in 2016

December 10, 2016 — We are pleased to announce an opportunity for several U.S. rural communities to participate in a pilot study on the use of crowdfunding as an economic development tool.

It is well known by economic development professionals that strong rural economies require strong entrepreneurs who can start businesses and create jobs. Supporting entrepreneurship in rural communities requires finding ways to enable better access to capital.

As a participants in the study, your community will receive use of a customized crowdfunding platform that will take localism to a whole new level. Imagine a fund-raising tool that:

  • Supports local and small businesses’ capital needs
  • Raises money for civic projects
  • Provides needed funding sources for local non-profits and charities
  • Connects the economic development resources in your community with the people that need them

The Local Crowd, a Laramie, Wyoming based company, has received a USDA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop a crowdfunding incubator that will help small businesses in rural communities access new sources of non-traditional capital. We are very excited to announce an upcoming pilot program that will select up to 10 rural communities in the U.S. that will implement the program in their communities and test its results.

The Local Crowd model combines the power of Internet crowdfunding with a strong educational focus designed to increase the knowledge base and sophistication level of rural entrepreneurs and investors in using the Internet to raise money and make investments in local companies. The model represents a catalyst for community involvement that will anchor it into rural communities by working directly with local economic development groups.

We are inviting a limited number of rural communities to apply to be pilot communities and utilize the crowdfunding platform and training program. We want to work with communities that offer great networks of businesses, entrepreneurs, residents, and community leaders that can understand this vision and help champion this opportunity. We are targeting local economic development organizations to respond to this RFP and these responders could be the local or regional EDC, SBDC, chamber, Main Street or other organization. As the TLC model becomes fully active in a community, it can serve to create more opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment, a greater and more diverse economic base, more options for growth and a better quality of life for rural residents.

This is a time sensitive project and only one community will be chosen for the Pilot Study. Submission deadline is January 11, 2016. Your response to our Request For Proposals (RFP) will allow The Local Crowd to determine your interest and ability to participate in this innovative crowdfunding technology. Please be advised that the selection of the communities will be based on the content of the response to the RFP. Organized, succinct and straightforward submissions are appreciated.

Please contact Diane Wolverton at 307-760-7373 or diane@thelocalcrowd.com or Kim Vincent at 307-760-7018, kim@thelocalcrowd.com with the name and contact information of the organization that is interested in responding to the RFP. You may register for our pre-submission webinar here.

November 4, 2016 — The Local Crowd co-founders, Diane Wolverton and Kim Vincent  presented a workshop at the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) National Summit in New Orleans November 3. They showcased the The Local Crowd crowdfunding platform, which brings a locally-based crowdfunding tool to rural communities. The TLC model is designed for economic development groups that want to break down the barriers to capital for entrepreneurs and nonprofits in their communities. TLC gives rural communities the opportunity to set up locally-branded crowdfunding platforms that are managed by the communities themselves. The package also includes education and support to ensure a successful launch and ongoing effectiveness.

The Local Crowd received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from USDA to roll out the program nationally and test its effectiveness in up to 30 rural communities—for no charge to the community. Many Demonstration Sites have been selected—representing rural communities in Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire—and more will soon come on line. During their presentation in New Orleans, the TLC team showcased the opportunity for communities to apply for the Local Crowd’s final round of Demonstration Site applications. They provided an overview of the crowdfunding industry and its relevance to capital formation for rural communities and entrepreneurial ecosystems.

The PowerPoint slides from the presentation are available here.

LARAMIE, Wyoming, October 17, 2016. The Local Crowd (https://www.thelocalcrowd.com), a locally-focused crowdfunding platform, has selected three rural communities to serve as Demonstration Sites for a USDA funded research project.

The Local Crowd’s platform offers features and educational programs designed to help rural communities activate entrepreneurial ecosystems and spur local investment. The two-year USDA Small Business Innovation Research grant will support the launch of up to 30 Demonstration Sites, with the ultimate goal of commercializing a new tool that provides better access to capital for businesses and organizations across rural America.

The three communities selected to be Demonstration Sites are Butte, Montana; Lower Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Harlingen, Texas; and Wood County, Wisconsin. They will join the communities of Bozeman, Montana; Laramie, Wyoming; Golden Hills, Iowa; Goshen, Indiana; Monadnock Region, New Hampshire; Oregon, Illinois; Sauk Valley Region, Illinois; Spoon River, Illinois. and Teton Valley, Idaho.

“We are pleased to have such a strong group of dedicated and visionary communities coming in as our second group of Demonstration Sites,” said Diane Wolverton, Co-Founder and CEO of The Local Crowd. “During the review process, each community team submitted a vision statement about how being a Demonstration site would impact their community. These vision statements capsulized their commitment to stimulate ‘deep collaboration, innovation, local investing, job creation, eco-tourism, youth engagement, and connectivity between businesses and the community.’ We are looking forward to great results from this dynamic and extremely creative team!

oil site with sunset, Wood County, Wisconsin logo and Lower Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce logo

LARAMIE, Wyoming, July 7, 2016.  The Local Crowd has selected six more rural communities to serve as Demonstration Sites for a USDA funded research project.

The communities joining the The Local Crowd are: Golden Hills, Iowa; Goshen, Indiana; Monadnock Region, New Hampshire; Oregon, Illinois; Sauk Valley Region, Illinois and Spoon River, Illinois. They will join the communities of Bozeman, Montana; Laramie, Wyoming; and Teton Valley, Idaho that are getting ready to launch their platforms at the end of summer.

“We are pleased to have such a strong group of dedicated and visionary communities coming in as our second group of Demonstration Sites,” said Diane Wolverton, Co-Founder and CEO of The Local Crowd. “During the review process, each community team submitted a vision statement about how being a Demonstration site would impact their community. These vision statements capsulized their commitment to stimulate ‘deep collaboration, innovation, local investing, job creation, eco-tourism, youth engagement, and connectivity between businesses and the community.’ We are looking forward to great results from this dynamic and extremely creative team!”

The Local Crowd is currently seeking applicants for a third round of Demonstration Site communities. A downloadable copy of the Request for Proposals is available at https://www.thelocalcrowd.com. Deadline for proposal submission is August 29, 2016.

FORT COLLINS, Colorado, November 11, 2015. Community Funded (www.communityfunded.com) today announced that The Local Crowd (www.thelocalcrowd.com) has chosen Community Funded’s crowdfunding technology platform to provide better access to capital for rural businesses and organizations across America.

The Local Crowd, based in Laramie Wyoming, provides education and technology to help rural businesses and non-profits raise funds locally via online crowdfunding and to educate rural investors about crowdfunding.

“Rural communities must cultivate vibrant entrepreneurial cultures to remain economically healthy,” said Diane Wolverton, Co-Founder and CEO of The Local Crowd. “Access to early-stage capital is essential to supporting entrepreneurship in these areas and that’s what we do by galvanizing local investor support.”

“We examined several crowdfunding platforms,” said Kim Vincent, Co-Founder and COO of The Local Crowd. “Community Funded’s platform is the only one with the features we need to support local campaigns and extensive educational resources our clients need.”

The Local Crowd, with support the USDA, successfully tested its solutions with six communities in 2014. With additional support from the USDA, The Local Crowd is recruiting up to 30 rural economic development organizations nationwide to implement local crowdfunding.

“Community Funded is proud to partner with The Local Crowd,” said McCabe Callahan, Co-Founder and CEO of Community Funded. “Their track record of results means that together we can positively impact communities nationwide and that’s our mission as a company.”

About Community Funded

Community Funded (www.communityfunded.com) provides powerful yet easy-to-use crowd-fundraising solutions that help organizations achieve their development goals. We also offer education and training to ensure success. @communityfunded

About The Local Crowd

The Local Crowd (www.thelocalcrowd.com) combines crowdfunding technology with the Spirit of Community and the power of local investing to catalyze communities that invest in themselves. @TLCpower

LARAMIE, Wyoming, April 25, 2016. The Local Crowd (www.thelocalcrowd.com), a locally-focused crowdfunding platform, has selected four rural communities to serve as Demonstration Sites for a USDA funded research project.

The Local Crowd’s platform offers features and educational programs designed to help rural communities activate entrepreneurial ecosystems and spur local investment. The two-year USDA Small Business Innovation Research grant will support the launch of up to 30 Demonstration Sites, with the ultimate goal of commercializing a new tool that provides better access to capital for businesses and organizations across rural America.

The first four communities selected to be Demonstration Sites are: Bozeman, Montana; Laramie, Wyoming; Sedgwick County, Colorado and Teton Valley, Idaho.

“We are pleased to have such a strong group of dedicated and visionary communities coming in as our first group of Demonstration Sites,” said Diane Wolverton, Co-Founder and CEO of The Local Crowd. “During the review process, each community team submitted a vision statement about how being a Demonstration site would impact their community. These vision statements capsulized their commitment to stimulate ‘deep collaboration, innovation, local investing, entrepreneurial networks, and connectivity between businesses and the community.’ We are looking forward to great results from this dynamic team!”

The Demonstration Site communities recently began a nine-week online training program last week to orient them to the crowdfunding software and support successful implementation of the platform. The target date for launch within each of the communities is late summer. The Local Crowd is uses crowdfunding technology developed by Community Funded of Fort Collins, Colorado.

The Local Crowd plans to issue another Request For Proposals this summer inviting additional communities to apply to become Demonstration Sites. A downloadable a sample Request for Proposals is available at www.thelocalcrowd.com.

About The Local Crowd

The Local Crowd (www.thelocalcrowd.com) combines crowdfunding technology with the Spirit of Community and the power of local investing to catalyze communities that invest in themselves.

Twitter: @TLCpower

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/thelocalcrowd/

About Community Funded

Community Funded (www.communityfunded.com) provides powerful yet easy-to-use crowd-fundraising solutions that help organizations achieve their development goals. We also offer education and training to ensure success. @communityfunded