Robyn Dannerbeck is the co-organiser of New Cross Creative Lab and a MA Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths College, London. She talks to us about crowd funding, her creative labs project and why she believes that anyone can be an entrepreneur.
With a trend towards young entrepreneurs seeking new and creative ways to turn their ideas into a sustainable reality there is an increase in creative means of funding. Young entrepreneurs are well aware that in the current economic atmosphere, banks are not likely to invest in a company seeking to promote the use of vegetables seen as too ugly to sell in stores, or a stage version of Happy Days (yes that was a real crowd funded project), the economic benefits to the bank, or lack thereof, far outweigh any perceived social or cultural benefits.
Thus the rise of crowd funding. In a brilliant ploy to help would-be entrepreneurs realise their projects no matter how small or far-fetched websites such as kickstarter.com and crowdcube.com provide a platform to share ideas and find funding.
The brilliance of crowd funding is that any ordinary person can “invest” in a project. It is easy to donate a £1 here and £2 there, £5 pounds to that new iPhone app, and another £3 to that band recording their debut album. The “investor” then gets the satisfaction of having contributed to multiple projects they believe in for a price of a bottle of wine, or less or more, it is entirely up to them. The internet makes it easy to find projects from all over the world pulling people and ideas together that would likely never have met in real life, all without those pesky bank applications and fees. It is a win-win situation, except perhaps for the banks that end up missing out on some brilliant new ideas and innovations.
The problem with crowd funding on the internet though is that it can be rather impersonal. By being able to support a project in Hong Kong while still nestled in your fuzzy dragon-onesie in your flat in London means that you have to rely on the information provided to the crowd funding site. There is little to no real interaction. Perhaps you’ll get a semi-personalized “thank you” or a couple of video updates on the progress of the project but you will likely never meet the brilliant minds behind your new obsession, even if they are a bunch of young and accessible upstarts. New Cross Creative Lab hopes to fill this gap by bringing potential creative entrepreneurs face to face with those looking for the next passion project to support. By having ideas pitched live and “crowd funded” in person, NCCL wants to bring together not just ideas and funding, but people. No idea too small or too big, from aspiring entrepreneurs to those who have made it, they say it’s not about what you know but who you know. Yes, funding is a huge part of getting an idea off the ground, but having the right support and collaborators can make all the difference between a success and a flop. That is why we decided to make crowd funding a live, personal event. We want to inspire people to trust their ideas, make new connections, and get the funding that will help them start doing instead of just talking.
Today’s young entrepreneurs are creative, not just in their ideas, but in how they fund, develop and produce, that’s why anyone now-a-days can be an entrepreneur. Gone are the limits of the past, now is the age of creative solutions, so why keep that spirit trapped on the internet when you can bring it life over a pint or two. That is why we hope you will join us on November 19th to either pitch your idea or find the next project you want to support. Entrepreneurship should be fun and interactive, so shut off your screens, put on some real clothes, and meet us at the Amersham Arms.