Mayoral program curates an online page to revitalize small businesses and the community.
Kickstarter is the place to go if you are seeking funding for your latest gadget or art project, it is, afte rall, the Internet’s number one platform for crowdfunding creative projects. But could Kickstarter be used for something more? For the greater good perhaps? Seed Chicago is experimenting with just that, using Kickstarter to highlight 11 small business and community projects that need financial assistance.
Seed Chicago is part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Plan for Economic Growth & Jobs, and the idea behind the officially curated Kickstarter page is to stimulate growth for the entire community by increasing the visibility of these selected small businesses. In a statement, Mayor Emanuel said:
It is our principal mission to ensure that neighborhood has a bustling economy, cultural and educational anchors, and local jobs so that Chicago can continue to grow and prosper on the world’s stage.
The Kickstarter campaign spotlights a variety of small businesses and community projects from hair-braiding school, to a farmer’s market to a summer program in Englewood that will teach young people to code. By asking people to engage in the community, it is consequentially making them more invested (literally and otherwise) in their community. Ankur Thakkar, the digital director for the mayor’s office, told The Atlantic Cities:
If you invest in a business, you have your skin in the game. People that invest in businesses feel a sense of ownership that they wouldn’t otherwise feel, and in this case it’s a business in one of their communities, creating jobs in their community, giving back to the community.
Kickstarter is being used in a unique way to promote neighborhood economic development. The funding will help create jobs, skills and opportunities that may otherwise not exist because the lack of capital. It is neighborhood revitalization sponsored by the city, but funded by neighbors, and if it is successful, it could introduce a whole new way to think about community development.