HomeEditorial CommentCrowd funding key to Byo’s revival

Crowd funding key to Byo’s revival

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THE long-awaited Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport has finally opened its doors to the public.

Nonto Masuku

As the people of Bulawayo, we welcome this development with open arms.

The “makeshift” airport we have been using for over a decade was a letdown to our beautiful city. Now we can welcome our visitors with pride. This is an appropriate way to remember and commemorate the life of Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, a true Zimbabwean icon.

While I can imagine our visitors landing at the airport and appreciating the airport’s aesthetics, I can also picture them being underwhelmed as they drive into our dilapidated city. Centenary Park falls far short of what a city park should look like. Our public hospitals are generally not fit for purpose. Our schools and our roads leave a lot to be desired.

All this is over and above the city’s water and electricity supply glitches. This clearly paints a gloomy picture, and yet we all seem to be waiting for someone beyond ourselves to save our dying city.

It is high time to work together as the city’s citizens to transform Bulawayo’s fortunes. Of the many ways this can be achieved, one method that requires serious consideration is crowd funding (also referred to as crowd financing, equity crowd funding, or hyper funding).

This is a fairly new concept, particularly in our part of the world. Wikipedia defines it as, “the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organisations”.

Crowd funding is used in support of a wide variety of activities, including disaster relief, scientific research, support of artistes by fans, public campaigns and civic projects. Instead of relying on traditional investors, crowd funding campaigns are funded by the general public.

This could include friends, family, work acquaintances or anyone that the project creator is connected to. This platform could be used to raise money to rebuild our hospitals, schools, and our city’s infrastructure in general. In the words of Chance Barnett, the chief executive officer of Crowd funder: “Collaboration on the web is an area of exponential growth. Crowd funding, or collaborative funding via the web, is one of the standouts for growth in this evolving collaborative economy.”

The Crowd funding Industry Report by Massolution released data showing the overall crowdfunding industry raised $2,7 billion in 2012, across more than one million individual campaigns globally.

By the end of 2013 the industry is projected to grow to $5,1 billion.

We too can tap into this industry. Bulawayo will only be rebuilt by passionate, driven, and open-minded people. Let us come together to rebuild the image of the City of Kings.

Nonto Masuku is an executive partner of an image management consultancy firm

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