American Express Kickstarts Ordinary People’s Hobbies

AmEx is helping passion projects come to fruition.

Inspired by Kickstarter, American Express has launched a six-month social media competition that will provide 10 people a month with one-off funding to pursue their passions.

The competition, entitled #PassionProjects, requires entrants to answer two simple questions: ‘what is your passion project?’ and ‘why is it important to you?’ The response must be 120 characters in length, accompanied by the competition’s hashtag. Winners will receive $2000 in gift cards, which are supposed to be used to kickstart these hobbies but are free of limitations, so can actually be spent on anything.

The initiative was inspired by an American Express-commissioned survey of 2,000 Americans that revealed 69% of participants define success as ‘making time to pursue passions and other interests’. But there was another initial inspiration, AmEx VP of public affairs Elizabeth Crosta told Business Insider:

What inspired it is that we love Kickstarter. But that mechanism would be quite a challenge for us to do.

The competition is part of the company’s new social media initiative on YouTube and Tumblr, where inspirational stories of people pursuing passion projects and how that lead to success and fulfillment will be posted. It is through these social media outlets that others can explain their passions to the company in hopes for some funding. The entire project is part of AmEx’s ‘What Membership Does’ campaign, which shows how a membership can help people pursue their side projects. Explains Costa:

If your passion is to take kids on an American road trip for the summer, one thing we could offer is Starwood [hotel] points.

American Express

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