Can Kickstarter and local governments work together to help citizens raise money for community improvements in low-income neighborhoods?
That’s the hope of the New York City Council, which announced this week that it will curate Kickstarter campaigns aiming to improve the quality of life in New York City’s poorer neighborhoods on a dedicated page, Kickstarter.com/NYC.
The page will highlight a mixture of projects, including restaurants, urban farms and art installations. The goal? To get philanthropically-minded citizens of the city and from around the world to pitch in and help make New York City better for all its residents.
City officials tout the partnership as a cutting-edge method of promoting entrepreneurship and improving access to capital for finically strapped would-be business owners.
“From East New York to the South Bronx, we’re going to kickstart New York’s low-income communities through our partnership with Kickstarter,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn in a release. “New Yorkers are still struggling, and we need to do everything we can to give people a leg up.”
The City Council pointed to already successful New York City-based Kickstarter projects as evidence of the platform’s power — Seasoned Vegan, for example, is a Harlem-based restaurant that raised more than $20,000 on the site. The restaurant is scheduled to open next month.
“As small business owners it has been very difficult for us to raise the money to open our restaurant,” said Aaron Beener, co-founder of Seasoned Vegan. “We are so thankful for the platform provided by KickStarter.com, which has allowed us to raise half the funds needed to get our loan.”
Other highlighted projects include an eclectic mix of programs that are well-suited to Kickstarter’s DIY ethos: Pop-up restaurant, a beatboxing program for blind children and a planned mural are all among the first batch of City-curated ventures.
Should other communities team up with Kickstarter to highlight local projects? Share your thoughts in the comments…