Recently, financing options have expanded with the additional of crowd-source financing - a way for businesses to raise funds for improvements through an on-line platform that allows the business to make direct appeals to customers and potential investors. Kick-starter is one such program making waves among artists, etc. (We'll cover our friends at Bar Marco and their Kick-Starter project in the forth and final of Bar Marco Small Business Series). Yet for non food-related small businesses, Kick-starter policy precludes them from using the on-line platform.
So what is a retailer to do?? In comes Lucky Ant, an alternative crowd-source financing platform that is committed to serving all kinds of small businesses, filling a gap that Kick-starter has left in its wake. Lucky Ant is a bit different from Kick-starter in that it builds an on-line platform that directs funders to neighborhoods first, businesses second. How it works is simple, Lucky Ant creates a website dedicated to a neighborhood - in their words they "open" a neighborhood - and rotate small businesses and their projects through one week at a time. "Investors" get services or discounts from small businesses in return. What I really like about Lucky Ant is that they building relationships with the communities they serve, and in the process create opportunities for people who feel a special connection to a particular to a place an easy way to give back to the businesses they know and love, making the district better with each small contribution.
|Lucky Ant approaches businesses in targeted neighborhoods. |
A commercial district managers dream!
|An example of a small business in Williamburg, Brooklyn where |
Lucky Ant has helped seed investment in a slew of small businesses.
We think partnerships with CDEs make loads of sense, and are excited to see their idea quickly picking up steam. CDEs are so perfectly positioned to identify businesses that can benefit from this kind of financing, as well as help spread the word among constituents about the service, driving donations and building community at the same time. In follow up conversations with a local BID Directors, he immediately thought of a long-neglected theatre-marquee whose upgrade would make a powerful statement about the district - not to mention help attract more visitors to this important entertainment anchor. This is exactly the kind of idea that Lucky Ant hopes to seed!
Here's a fun video that describes how Lucky Ant works...enjoy!
Lucky Ant - Video