New crowdfunding platform Dreamstarter aims for socially-minded start-ups

Entrepreneurs with a social mission are the target of a new crowdfunding platform called Dreamstarter, created by a partnership between ING Direct and StartSomeGood.

 

StartSomeGood, launched last year by Tom Dawkins, is a crowdfunding platform for social innovation. Dawkins has described it as “Kickstarter but for social change”.

 

And it seems the platform is living up to its name, launching a new initiative called Dreamstarter in partnership with financial services firm ING Direct in a bid to boost Australia’s social enterprise sector.

 

Much like StartSomeGood, Dreamstarter enables Australian entrepreneurs to raise funds for social change projects, chosen by the Dreamstarter panel.

 

The panel, which will review submissions once a month, is made up of representatives from StartSomeGood, ING Direct and the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE).

 

Each project will only receive support funding if it reaches its “tipping point”, and it’s up to the panel to decide the funding amount. The first projects received an average of $2000.

 

The tipping point is the minimum amount needed for the project to kick off.

 

The initial round of applicants were all graduates of SSE, which runs learning programs for entrepreneurs who have an idea or start-up venture with a social or environmental benefit.

 

A total of 10 ventures led by SSE graduates will launch in the initial round of fundraising through the Dreamstarter program.

 

These ventures include connecting remote Aboriginal entrepreneurs to new markets via an online store, and an initiative to help rural communities in Malawi achieve greater self-sufficiency.

 

According to Dawkins, the partnership breaks new ground in the “corporate social responsibility sector”.

 

“Crowdfunding is a participatory model that democratises corporate philanthropy. The projects that will succeed are those that have a genuine mandate from the community,” Dawkins says.

 

Similarly, SSE chief executive Celia Hodson said in a statement initiatives like Dreamstarter are breaking down the barriers social entrepreneurs face when attracting support for their ventures.

 

“The Dreamstarter campaign is a fantastic way for start-up social ventures to raise their profile, attract critical seed funding and inspire others to create change in their communities,” she said.

 

The news comes on the back of an announcement Thankyou Water founder Daniel Flynn has been named Victorian Young Achiever of the Year.

 

Thankyou Water is a Melbourne-based social enterprise that sells bottled water in Australia in order to fund water projects in developing nations. Flynn founded the business when he was 19.

 

All profits go towards funding safe water projects, with each bottle of water sold providing at least one month’s worth of safe water for someone in need.

 

The business has seen strong growth over the past 12 months, almost quadrupling its turnover from the previous year.

 

To date, it has funded 52 safe water projects in Cambodia, Myanmar, Uganda, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Timor-Leste, assisting more than 33,000 people.

 

“The whole reason behind what I do is to change lives through the provision of safe water,” Flynn said in a statement.

 

“By constantly improving how we do things in our organisation, especially through innovation in the digital and technological space, we can spread the word to more people about our cause.”

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