Raising initial capital can be one of the most challenging parts of running a business, but in recent years, social networking has offered a new way for entrepreneurs to find financial backing for their endeavors. Using crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter, aspiring business leaders can raise capital while retaining a large amount of equity in their companies. Crowdfunding platforms represent an accessible alternative to more traditional sources of capital funding, and can also generate a fair amount of publicity for new companies due to their integration with social media.
In June 2015, the Huffington Post interviewed three African entrepreneurs who recently completed successful crowdfunding campaigns using Kickstarter. The business leaders, Mugo Muna of Borawear, Esosa Ighodaro of COSIGN, and comic book creator Roye Okupe, offered some key pieces of advice for fellow entrepreneurs hoping to raise capital using crowdfunding platforms.
After deciding which crowdfunding platform will best suit their needs, they advised, entrepreneurs should gather the support of their families and friends, recruiting their help in expanding the campaign throughout their social networks. The interviewees also noted that business leaders can garner support by connecting with audiences via an impactful story and effective visual media. They can also generate momentum from the outset by securing financial commitments prior to the first day of the campaign. In addition to using their full range of social media channels to promote their crowdfunding campaign, entrepreneurs should leverage contacts in the press, especially in online journalism, to increase their campaign’s exposure.