Krakow Technology Park, Poland
“Idea Development Camp: crowdfunding edition”
A comprehensive support program to show crowdfunding as an alternative method of financing a startup. It consisted of 4 trainings followed by feedback day, 2 events, Pitching Fight Club and Failure Night, and preparation of written materials constituting a compendium of knowledge on social financing.
Purpose of the solution
The role of the consumer is changing, with people more and more willing to participate in the creation of new products and services. Many pro-social or pro-ecological solutions being developed are not of interest to investment funds, and startups are looking for alternative ways to finance their activities. The aim of the project was to help the founders of technology startups in supplementing their business competences in the opportunities offered by crowdfunding, so that they can better design the monetization of their projects and more effectively build a community of patrons and users of their solutions. It also stimulates entrepreneurship in the region, especially after the period of stagnation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the pandemic restrictions prevailing at the time, the project was carried out online, which allowed people from smaller towns to participate in it.
Idea Development Camp focused on rewards-based crowdfunding. The training sessions were attended by 15 innovators, who developed their ideas individually or in a team. It allowed them to plan a crowdfunding campaign from A to Z, and was followed by Feedback Day where participants had 4 hours of 1:1 consultations with representatives of crowdfunding platforms, marketing agencies, lawyers and startups whose campaigns were successful.
At Pitching Fight Club participants had only 3 minutes to present their ideas, to a jury of representatives of the largest Polish crowdfunding platforms, who gave feedback on whether each project had crowdfunding potential. Failure Night featured 3 startups whose campaigns did not achieve the expected results, giving participants the chance to learn from their mistakes. A publication “The first million from crowdfunding” was downloaded by 106 people, and 2 campaigns are in preparation.
What is innovative about it?
Poland lacks programs aimed at using crowdfunding as a business model. In 2021 only 4% of Polish startups have used crowdfunding to finance their projects. The available knowledge is fragmentary and there is a belief that due to high commissions and the need to hire an agency that will prepare the campaign, this is a very expensive solution.
Crowdfunding is a great tool to validate market and ideas, which is just as important as financing. Thanks to a series of trainings and consultations, participants learned how to plan a crowdfunding campaign step by step, which financing model to choose and how to engage the community to support their solution.
Creating educational materials helped to reach a wider audience, and contributes to increasing the use of alternative sources of financing innovative projects. The ability to plan campaigns well and fulfil obligations increases public trust, which is necessary to boost popularity of social financing. What's more, in a world focused on success, the failure night event was a valuable opportunity to show that one can learn from mistakes.