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Entrepreneurs Track 8: Innovative Instruments For Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding Eco-Innovative Solution

 

 


People developing eco-innovative solutions to business challenges are increasingly looking to the general public and individuals for new ideas as well as financing support.  Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding are two innovative instruments that have evolved recently into important tools for sharing experience and raising funds to support development of new products and services.

 

This session will provide participants with an introduction to the concepts of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding through presentations of two organisations that provide these services in the Mediterranean region.  Participants will come away with knowledge about how to incorporate these tools in the development of their own projects that feature eco- or social innovations.

 

The joint workshop by Yomken.com (a crowdsolving platform based in Egypt and Tunisia) and La Bolsa Social (a crowdfunding platform from Spain) shared their experiences on how to become more accessible and affordable for business and NGOs.

 

 

Tamer Taha, founder at Yomken.com, a Cairo-based crowdsolving platform aiming at providing financing to innovations and R&D services to the Arab world, explained that only around 10% of the companies in Egypt have implemented innovative solutions, mainly because innovation is associated with risk, and due to the lack of connections between funding sources and ideas.

Yomken can be defined as an open-innovation platform for low-tech micro- and small enterprises (MSEs) or NGOs working with these MSEs to post the challenges they face (publicly or anonymously) and then link them to creative solutions provided using the “wisdom of the crowd?. These challenges can vary from product development, production process optimization, usage of alternative raw material, etc., and a marketplace where innovators and creative people can post their innovative projects, patents and market research to be linked with financial vehicles (e.g. VCs, Crowdfunding platforms and others) to get support and/or investment, as well as knowledgeable people to assist in further developing their projects.

Yomken is positioning itself to be the place for creating the link between innovators and finance, making innovations less risky, giving confidence and access to sponsors and finance, lessening the cost of innovation and enhancing the brand value. Around 60% of the MSEs in Egypt are mostly working in the informal sector, so fostering innovative practices in these companies and moving them up their value chain will transform them into a higher level of technology and innovation usage.

He explained the case of a company offering in Yomken.com a €70,000 reward for an okra sorting machine in order to sort infected okra pods from the uninfected, and the winners were 2 engineers with a machine that performed a 90% successful separation. A second case was from Tunisia, regarding the first service of ecologically delivery by bike, with a reward of 15,000 Tunisian Dollars sponsored by GIZ.

With regard to the property rights, they must be studied in a case-by-case basis, and sometimes a prototype is required or testing must be undertaken.  Yomken.com takes 10% of the reward (from either the solution seeker or the sponsor) as a fee.

Download the Yomken presentation here.

 

 

José Moncada, founder at La Bolsa Social, an equity crowdfounding company or on-line investment in the capital of a company.

  


José Moncada defined his company as “the first crowdimpacting platform authorized by the financial authority in Spain: the crowdfunding of investors and businesses with positive social impact?.

 

Bolsa Social helps finance companies with the condition of having a positive impact on society and the environment.

He quantified the market of equity crowdfunding in Europe –or alternative on-line investment, of around €3,000 million in 2014, with a growth of more than 300% in 2015.

To receive financial resources from Bolsa Social, a company must demonstrate a measurable positive impact to society with a business model running and with turnover. Once the company is approved by Bolsa Social, it is published in its website. The minimum investment for the shareholders is €1,000.

When an investment is made by a person, the money is kept in a special account (an escrow account) in Tríodos Bank, until the target of the campaign has been attained or until the end of the campaign. If the target amount is reached, Tríodos transfers the money to the company and La Bolsa Social performs the capital increase in the name of the person at the notary. If the target is not reached, the money is sent back to the investor with no fees.

Download the Bolsa Social presentation here.