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Crowdfunding in Brussels

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a relatively recent form of funding whereby (new) entrepreneurs, organisations and individuals with little or no chance of accessing traditional funding channels are able to raise an initial part of their required funding online from the general public, after which they can more easily approach professional investors such as banks.

Crowdfunding is ideal to reach a large audience, raise capital without landing in financial difficulties and gain an insight into people’s perception of your project.

How do you start?

  1. Keen to fund your professional project via crowdfunding, then you must start by knowing which kind of crowdfunding best suits your initiative:
  • financial crowdfunding based on loans or shares
  • non-financial crowdfunding based on donations and sponsorship or reward

This website provides a good summary of the four different types of crowdfunding.

  1. Once this is known, you can look out for a suitable platform.

As far as financial crowdfunding is concerned, established names include Kickstarter, Spreds, Indiegogo, RocketHub, MyMicroInvest and Bolero.

The field of non-financial crowdfunding is dominated in Belgium by Ulele, KissKissBankBank, Angel.me and Appsfunder.

  1. Put together a good campaign. In most cases, the platform staff will help you in your choice.
  2. You then decide on the amount you wish to raise and a timescale, which tends to be limited to a few months.
  3. As soon as your campaign is launched, you must actively promote your project, both online and offline.
  4. If your project catches on, you will receive donations from people already on the platform or from those that you have actively led towards the platform with your campaign. Such donations are saved in a virtual account until the end of the campaign.
  5. If your crowdfunding campaign succeeds within the deadline and you collect the desired amount, then the money in the account is transferred to your account, less the commission for the crowdfunding platform. If not, all those donating get their money back. In that case you receive nothing, but neither does the platform.

 

Case study

A good example of a successful, non-financial crowdfunding campaign with a social purpose is Operation 15+15+15 by DoucheFLUX, which raised over 15,000 euros in 2016 via KissKissBankBank, a reward-based crowdfunding platform. DoucheFLUX is an organisation that promotes the reintegration of those needing help. They do this with a variety of inclusive services and activities – ranging from free showers to language lessons.

The aim of the campaign was to equip the DoucheFLUX site with ICT material for those in need of help.

Florian Donnet, Account Manager for the French community at KissKissBankBank Belgium & Luxembourg, explains the campaign’s success:

“Operation 15+15+15 was a real hit, primarily because the organisation’s social mission perfectly matches our philosophy. A good match between the platform and project should not be underestimated. I would even go as far as saying that it’s a basic requirement for a successful campaign. If we think that you would be better knocking on someone else’s door with your project, we will tell you that quite clearly.”

Also very important are the enthusiasm of the campaign leader(s) and the look and feel of the project page:

“It goes without saying that a dynamic campaign has a far greater chance of success. You need to think carefully about the visual aspect, be on social media as much as possible, give your followers updates and not be scared about being in the spotlight. It’s a lot of work, but you have more chance of success if those visiting the platform get to know the person behind the campaign,” says Donnet. “Incidentally, with it being so intensive, we limit the campaigns to a maximum of sixty days, depending on the amount to be raised.”

Those visiting the DoucheFLUX project page see a range of rewards in the right-hand margin – the greater the amount donated, the more valuable the reward – however, their value is not necessarily monetary.

“At KissKissBankBank, we work with rewards. We are a cultural, inclusive and innovative platform and therefore attract many donors who support a project because of their beliefs, not because they hope to make a fortune with it. We therefore advise campaign leaders to offer rewards that reflect the nature of the project. This is also what you see at DoucheFLUX which, among other things, offered a subscription to their magazine and an invitation to the inauguration of their new building.”

DoucheFLUX ended up raising 102% of the requested amount. The organisation also recently received a subsidy as part of the Smart City project appeal related to social inclusion. You can read more about this project call here.

 

More information on crowdfunding

More information can be found on the following websites (Dutch/French):