Local startups urged to tap crowdfunding

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LOCAL start-ups should venture into raising money online to increase their business capital, the founder of a Filipino-based crowdfunding website said on Wednesday.

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“Crowdfunding has leveled the playing field for a lot of entrepreneurs to do something and raise funds to make their ideas into reality,” said Patch Dulay, founder and chief executive officer of the Spark Project, in a roundtable interview in Makati City.

The Spark Project was founded in 2013 and is one of the pioneers in the crowdfunding segment in the Philippines.

Dulay said that through crowdfunding, entrepreneurs can build a network, validate and improve their concepts and expand their market, which could help them enter into a more mature and complex funding options.

“What we address is the gap between seed funding, because we are still in the pre-seed funding area, where the entrepreneur is in the validation and launching phase, so not a lot of organizations and institutions serve that market. Once they become successful, they can get enough attraction and can enter for a seed-funding or for a loan,” he said.

Dulay acknowledged that while the crowdfunding method could help new businesses, this was “not a magic [spell]that you can get a million pesos just by posting your campaign online.”

“This requires hard work, a lot of legwork, preparation, and tapping into your network,” he said.
Dulay said the Spark Project was equipping startups to scale up their businesses.

“If they have ideas, we help them through workshops, events. We help them see the value of crowdfunding, orient them so they could crowdfund successfully. We want to continue with them even after the crowdfunding. We look for opportunities for them, look for ways to scale their businesses,” he said.

“We really believe in the talents of Filipinos. Crowdfunding goes beyond raising funds, but also to validate your business ideas and reach more people,” he added.

Dulay said the website had guided more than 55 projects and has garnered P5.5 million since its launch four years ago.

The Spark Project is one of the finalists in the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Sinag 2017 program, which “will focus on enabling entrepreneurs to scale up and expand, so they can further deepen their impact in community development.”

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