…and what country is it?
They have ‘Kasmoni’ a rotating savings and credit system for people who don’t have access to the banking system. (a kind of traditional crowdfunding)
This country experiences the same problem we see all over the world with a lack of access to funding for small businesses and start-ups – and they want to do something about it.
There is strong ties to Holland, a country that is already using debt and equity crowdfunding, to help entrepreneurs and create jobs.
Entrepreneurship and small business ownership come naturally to this ethnically diverse society.
There is high social media usage and a willingness to connect with broader communities online – including the diaspora. (people from this country that live abroad)
What country is this? Suriname! Is the small Dutch speaking nation on the north-eastern side of South America. I traveled there to deliver a series of lectures and speeches on the value of entrepreneurship and the potential of crowdfunding to create jobs and inclusive economic growth. I had the chance to meet with business leaders, academics, students and entrepreneur’s in a series of events hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Paramaribo, the capital.
I was there on behalf of the U.S. State Department for Global Entrepreneurship Week and was happy to be greeted by engaged and interested audiences at the various events around the capital. I learned that Suriname experiences the same challenges in getting funding to the most promising small businesses and entrepreneurs that we face here in the US. Because Suriname experiences many of the same problems that we experience with funding entrepreneurs, they were interested in hearing what I had to say about democratizing access to capital for all worthy small businesses. People there are working hard to help entrepreneurs create jobs and build better lives for themselves and their community. They want to learn as much as they can about what we are doing with Crowdfunding in the U.S. – not because they want to implement the same system of crowdfunding there, but because they want to take our lessons to create a uniquely Surinamese solution to the problem. The diverse country is full of opportunity for its people who are working hard to expand entrepreneurship and jobs.
Because the ideas behind crowdfunding are so familiar to people in Suriname, and there is heavy social media usage there, they are well positioned to be leaders in crowdfunding by getting community based capital to small businesses and entrepreneurs in the country. I realized how much interest there was by the media coverage which included a piece on the evening news and a front page story on the national newspaper. I spoke at three universities and met with business leaders who are interested in what crowdfunding has to offer.
A highlight was the chance to meet with Apura NetWorks which is an online ecosystem for Suriname and its people abroad. They connect Surinamese people from around the world with each other with their technology and are now launching a crowdfunding platform to give the diaspora and those interested in Suriname the opportunity to support project’s in the country. They could make a huge difference for Suriname.
Apura is the first crowdfunding platform in the country but probably not the last. Suriname has many of the key ingredient needed to create a thriving crowdfunding ecosystem. (and some obstacles) Could they be the next leaders in the crowdfunding revolution?
Rob Mitchell heads up Success With Crowdfunding and is a Partner at Crowdfund Capital Advisors. He’s passionate about democratizing access to funding for small businesses and entrepreneurs, both at home and abroad, and is focused on helping them create successful crowdfunding campaigns. Rob Mitchell is part of the team responsible for the crowdfunding framework (Title III) of the JOBS Act signed into law by President Barack Obama. He is a serial entrepreneur who speaks frequently at crowdfunding and entrepreneurship focused events around the world. Recent speaking engagements include Stockholm School of Economics (Riga), Stanford University (AMENDS Conference), UC Berkeley (Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship Boot Camp), Corvinus University (Budapest), and FHR School of Business (Paramaribo, Suriname). Robert is also a contributing author of ‘Crowdfunding’s Potential for the Developing World,’ a report written for the World Bank by Crowdfund Capital Advisors and is the co-founder of Success With Crowdfunding, the acclaimed online crowdfunding education portal.