For the past 25 years, Momentum has been working to reduce poverty and build prosperity through community economic development initiatives. Both our programs and our community leadership activities are focused on the development of stronger and more sustainable local economies.
One of the basic tenets of CED is that local businesses are vital for the health and resilience of the local economy. We support the success of Calgary entrepreneurs through our Business Development programs, and are happy to collaborate with others doing the same.
Take, for example, ATB Financial’s Alberta BoostR project.
Launched by ATB Financial in 2015, Alberta BoostR is a rewards-based crowdfunding platform. Having recognized the significance of crowdfunding for entrepreneurs, ATB decided to invest in building Alberta BoostR as its very own crowdfunding platform.
Like other crowdfunding sites, it provides small businesses and entrepreneurs with a venue for raising money, testing ideas, and gaining exposure. But Alberta BoostR is different from other crowdfunding platforms in several ways.
1. Alberta BoostR is designed exclusively for entrepreneurs and small businesses based in Alberta. The focus is local. People from around the world can support the businesses, but only Alberta businesses and entrepreneurs can launch a campaign.
2. Alberta BoostR actively supports entrepreneurs through two monthly events.
- Crowdfunding 101 workshops hosted by ATB Financial in Calgary and Edmonton teach the basics of raising money through crowdfunding.
- Live-pitch events, known as the BoostR Stage, offer entrepreneurs three minutes to pitch their business idea in front of a panel of judges and an audience of local residents to “boost” their crowdfunding campaign.
There are natural synergies between Alberta BoostR and Momentum. The events and the crowdfunding possibilities are generating excitement about what “local” means. They take the concept of community economic development to a whole new audience.
It was a natural fit for us to promote Alberta BoostR to our participants. Information about BoostR is now integrated into the training we provide our participants on funding a business. Several businesses that Momentum and our participants have been closely involved in have launched Alberta BoostR campaigns:
- The Calgary Tool Library
- The Grain Exchange Calgary Bakery Cooperative
- Escape Capers YYC
- Shaunio Radio
- Green Event Services
- Being Mentally Healthy
- Drool Pawtisserie Pet Treats
- Fero Face Fit
Last fall, we went a step beyond promoting Alberta BoostR. With ATB Financial and two of our CED partners, REAP and Thrive, Momentum put on a BoostR Stage event specifically for social enterprises. These are businesses that balance a focus on profits with a commitment to social goals. The perception is often that such enterprises are charities, but this BoostR Stage live-pitch event encouraged a different view: the hybrid of social goals and business acumen is not only possible, but profitable.
“At Alberta BoostR, entrepreneurs and investors get to look each other in the eye. Our relationships move from the transactional to the personal. We feel the buzz.” – Philip Lozano, Momentum Business Development Facilitator
The Alberta BoostR live events help local businesses deepen their relationship with their community and their customers. Entrepreneurs meet investors, Momentum participants meet the broader business community, and people make connections to businesses that matter to them.
Alberta BoostR is community economic development in action.