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Crowdfunding
in Ukraine

Venture
philantropy

Social
innovations

Community and territory
development

Spilnikosht on Big Idea platform is the first and biggest online crowdfunding mechanism in Ukraine. It helps people find financial support for their projects among colleagues and adherents. Spilnokosht emerged out of need to support creative, media and educational initiatives, and develops in order to fund innovations in such fields as IT, renewable energy and social entrepreneurship.

Grassroots reforms, cultural metamorphoses, innovative strategies, investment in social development, realization of ideas of young professionals – these are the aims of the Spilnokosht mechanism on Big Idea.

Spilnokosht was founded in 2012. Over two years, 10,000 benefactors have supported different projects for more than 2,700,000 UAH.

A few pages of contemporary Ukrainian history have been written through Spilnokosht. During Euromaidan, crowdfunding helped the emergence of a revolutionary media – Hromadske TV, by collecting more than 1,000,000 UAH to support its work. Another successfully crowdfunded project related to Euromaidan was – Babylon’’13, a documentary film almanac that united both renowned and young filmmakers.

Thanks to crowdfunding, organizers of the project “Everyone Needs Hope" equipped a gym in Dzhankoy with weight-lifting machines, and its author, European bodybuilding champion Niyas Ismailov, developed a special fitness set for people with disabilities.

"A Ticket to Success", the project aimed at developing entrepreneurial skills in underprivileged children, has sought support via Spilnokosht for four times. "Hromadske Radio" has been twice crowdfunded for 200,000 UAH.

Crowdfunding on BiggggIdea.com is public trust to civic initiatives:

City initiatives (Slava Frolova's Art Picnic, art residence in Muzychi, decoration for trees in Lutsk, mini-festival Green scene in Chernigiv, a tipi for children in Unizh);

Media resources and a film almanac (Hromadske radio, Babylon'13, Hromadske.tv, Korydor, Platfor.ma);

Printed publications "Karyka-Durka", "Magazine 5.6", ​ ​​​"Mandala Meditation Art Book", "Fairy-Tales Collected by Little Magdalena");

Book presentations (​"Lights Out in Wonderland", "​​​​​​​​​​Hrytsko Chubay. Pentateuch");

Music (a performance in Berlin, recording of a single by Synya Vapa, production of a music video by The Folkners);

"Provision for the Euromaidan in Kyiv";

Eco initiatives ("Let's Make Ukraine Clean!", ​​​​​​​​​​​installation of waste containers in the National Park);

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Social projects in the Crimea (a children's game club in Inkerman, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​a gym for people with disabilities in Dzhankoy, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​"Skype medicine for Sovietsky settlement");

Festivals and exhibitions (​​​​​​​​​​​​​Document theatre festival, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​Rover film festival, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​urban festival Construction​​​, "Dreams about Lviv");

Support of teenagers (Science summer school at a Kyiv lyceum, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​a program of business education for teenagers in Lviv, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​adaptation program for Crimean teenagers in Lviv, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​Brukivochka film club);

Crowdfunding in Ukraine: quality criteria for projects

When we started crowdfunding in Ukraine, the most important thing for us was to set quality criteria. We tend to choose those teams which understand that network relationships are based on interaction and are not set in stone. When we consult to projects seeking crowdfunding, we try to make them realize that gifting is a form of horizontal relationships that helps sustain a dialogue with one's supporters. This approach proved really useful for all stakeholders.

Crowdfunding in the circle of like-minded people creates a productive space for reflection on one's attitude to money and, most importantly, proves that fundraising is not about beggary but interconnection and involvement.

Take a look at the current projects on Spilnokosht.

Investor of Society is a program of cooperation between civic and commercial sectors. It invites businesses to support projects related to their development strategy. According to research, the majority of social projects are supported by Ukrainian business unsystematically. In the long run, it is disadvantageous both to business and sustainable development. The program of venture philanthropy Investor of Society provides a possibility to support projects that create innovations in the company’s sphere of interest.

In 2014, Garage Gang launched a long-term program Investor of Society. Its goal is to create sustainable change by taking advantage of crowdfunding and cooperating with entrepreneurs.

Development of business requires new ideas, beneficial social climate, and effective solutions for current challenges. The main difference of Investor of Society program from old models of funding social projects is that money invested in the non-profit sector can also strengthen the business environment. It is a win-win situation. That is why Investors of Society are interested in success of social innovations they support.

Venture philanthropy – business for more than profit

The research “Value-based business” conducted by the Lviv Business School of the Ukrainian Catholic University shows nearly optimistic results. 90% of the most successful Ukrainian companies mainly understand the need to implement socially significant projects. However, the report states, “more than half (56%) of the investigated social projects are fragmented and sporadic initiatives that are not beneficial to either business or society in the long run.”

Most companies continue to build communication with their audience without a clear social strategy; they simply promote their commercial proposals and expect feedback in social media. This approach will considerably impair their success, customer loyalty and representation in media where a big part of brand reputation is formed today.

The companies that will win on these arenas are using focused social strategies that (1) reduce cost or increase their clients’ willingness to pay; (2) satisfy their employees’ request for horizontality and active co-creation; (3) make investments that support creative and socially significant projects implementing solutions in the sphere of company’s business and social interest.

Why does money granted for development of social innovations become an investment resource?

Companies return their social investment in the form of their own reputation capital:

– recognition of company’s financial support of projects that combine technological, social and environmental approaches to solve social challenges

– the company’s identity in the sphere of social innovations is built on the basis of its conscious and transparent participation in the development of sustainable solutions, which at the same time strengthens its business strategy

– loyalty of employees and customers increases as a result of their understanding of the company’s involvement in the process of formation of a beneficial climate for innovations and sustainable development.

Downoload the the venture philanthropy program Investor of Society

Big Idea is a platform of active citizens, social projects and educational ideas. Big Idea provides a set of tools for pragmatic idealists who want to develop and implement their projects. The platform offers three services: Spilnokosht – online crowdfunding mechanism; Opportunities a service of announcements about grants, internships, educational programs and travels; Practices a media journal about social innovations, social entrepreneurship, new business models, ecological awareness, and the theory of change.

Big Idea was launched in 2009 during the global financial crisis.

Over the five years of its work, the platform has become an active media. We encourage everyone to be an inventive and conscientious entrepreneur. Through the services of Spilnokosht, Practices and Opportunities, we share our own experience and tell about responsible entrepreneurship and cultural management in the Ukrainian context.

The audience of the platform is 100,000 unique visitors a month. The core of the target audience is conscious progressive public interested in positive changes. Age: 22–35. Sex: women – 56%, men – 44%. Geography: Kyiv – 56%, Lviv – 15%, Kharkiv – 6%, Odessa – 5%, Dnipropetrovsk – 3%, Donetsk – 2%, other cities – 13%.

The users of Big Idea services are self-employed people and freelancers (20%), active citizens and NGO representatives (20%), workers of big corporations (10%). Our audience is characterized by three traits: they practice self-education, start their own ventures, and feel responsible for desirable social changes.

The media about social innovations, responsible entrepreneurship and sharing economy

Over the years of existence of our media, we have been spreading ideas of responsible entrepreneurship, sharing economy, reforms in different countries of the world, and even space exploration in Ukraine. We have talked about real experience of young businessmen, cultural managers and political activists.

We have written about start-ups, co-workings and the need for a big revolution. We were the first media to write in Ukrainian about Time Bank, Suspended Coffees, B-corporations, information diet and personal economy.

In the time of information overload we started to use caution with new information waves, looking up to slow reading, expert opinions, and personal stories.

Launched in early 2014, Opportunities service became a resource for exchange of educational announcements. Every month it offers more than 200 new announcements about grants, scholarships, internships, and cultural travels.

Fundamentally, Big Idea combines such functions as “study” and “do”. Here one can not only read and learn something new, but also be an active citizen, support projects via Spilnokosht, and share or find educational programs in Opportunities.

Good websites offer not content but experience

According to the theory of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, really good websites offer not content but experience. On such websites, one is involved in navigation which feels like an exciting chase. This feeling, also known as “flow”, consists of a sense of rhythm, participation and expectation.

The world media in our focus: Stanford Social Innovation Review, Fast Company, Good.Is, Kickstarter, KissKissBankBank, 99U, Harvard Business Review, Monocle, Wired, TED.

Social changes require an environment based on constant learning, mutual responsibility and exchange of ideas. We develop programs for civic and professional communities, projects of public space activation, local and international artistic initiatives. We implement models of cooperation for different stakeholders: SundayBorshch – a project of mini-grants from communities; Generation Celebration – a program of urban transformations supported by local authorities and business; Street Voice – urban festival of interaction between creative class and local communities.

Contemporary city has many dimensions. That is why well-being of community as a whole depends on cooperation between groups with different interests. Organization of positive urban transformations is one of the goals of Garage Gang.

Usually, such processes consist of five phases: 1) building connections between different sectors of urban activity; 2) generating ideas for development of the city potential; 3) forming demand for final creative products and innovative services; 4) creating physical spaces – catalysts of educational and innovative life of a community; 5) scaling of successful models for faster implementation of the development vision.

Creative city – a space of interaction

Innovative projects in search of ideas for their growth often require support from sustainability experts and organized channels of cooperation with business and authorities. In 2012 Garage Gang in partnership with Pact Inc. realized the program Modern Crimea. Citizens and villagers of Crimea were offered interactive practices: public creative sessions Street Voice, mini grants Sunday Borshch, project of artist Alevtyna Kakhidze “Maybe Miracle!” As a result of the program, several projects of young Crimeans received financial, consulting and partner support and were successfully implemented in local communities.

Interaction based on partnership as a principle of development starts from building connections. In May 2013, Garage Gang participated in a series of artistic interventions organized by CSM in partnership with ESTA Holding within the framework of the project SPACES: Architecture of the Common. We did facilitation of the Urban Forum – a public dialogue between Kyiv residents and big business searching for strategies of revitalization of post-industrial spaces through cultural initiatives.

Amplify Good Solutions program: supporting the process of regeneration of Ukrainian cities and villages

The challenges we face today in the Ukrainian communities are multileveled, interconnected and dynamic. They require from us active and interdisciplinary interaction in order to create more innovative solutions. To search for such solutions, in early 2014 our organization in partnership with Pact Inc. started the program Amplify Good Solutions. This series of events was aimed at interaction of talents, involvement of resources and directing the energy of self-organization to viable projects in order to support the process of regeneration of Ukrainian cities and villages. The program will result in creation of new online resources, public services, social enterprises, urban solutions and artistic interventions.

Great cities and strong economies can exist only when people want to participate in their creation. This social process requires both virtual infrastructure and physical space. Garage Gang in partnership with a national business company is preparing a program “The best place to be is where we are!” to be realized in the end of 2014. Its purpose is to ensure public participation in founding and functioning of the third places as new urban “gravity centers” for talented and active citizens who want to learn from one another, create new projects and maintain various connections within the community.

Strategic cooperation

If you are a business company, NGO, city council or university, and if you want to cooperate for the benefit of your projects or communities, please contact us.
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