For the City Times
North Central Community Action Program of Wisconsin has been selected to become the host demonstration site for a new, locally focused crowdfunding platform as part of a research project funded by USDA.
Wood County is one of three communities recently chosen to launch the crowdfunding platform and demonstrate its effectiveness as an economic development tool.
The Local Crowd, a Laramie, Wyo based company, received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from USDA last fall to establish the demonstration sites. 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 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. North Central Community Action Program, Inc. will serve as the crowdfunding platform host.
“We are very proud to be selected as one of the national demonstration sites and introducing a technology tool to small business start-ups and existent businesses to gain funding.” said Carla Lenk, Coordinator of Business Development.
In addition to Wood County. the communities of Lower Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Texas; and Butte, Mont. were also selected as demonstration sites. They will join the communities selected in the first two rounds of applications including Bozeman, Mont.; Laramie, Wyo; Golden Hills, Iowa; Goshen, Ind.; Monadnock Region, N.H.; Oregon, Ill.; Sauk Valley Region, Ill.; Spoon River, Ill., and Teton Valley, Idaho.
“We are pleased to have such a strong group of dedicated, diverse and visionary communities coming in as our third 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 ‘expand local and regional markets, catalyze productive collaborations, create new jobs, stimulate business startups, and build a grass roots movement.’ We are looking forward to great results from this dynamic and extremely creative team.”
The demonstration site teams will complete an eight-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 early 2017.
On Nov. 11, 2016, The Local Crowd will issue its fourth and final request for proposals for communities interested in becoming Demonstration Sites as part of the USDA research project.