Sociofinancing is one of the many topics addressed by PIGE.quebec. Not only is it one of the sources of funding for self-employment , it is also a topic of discussion: should we choose Kickstarter or Indiegogo? Instead of presenting a global platform, we will take a look at a Quebec crowdfunding platform: La Ruche .
What is La Ruche?
Created in 2013, La Ruche Québec was a crowdfunding platform ” exclusive to the greater Quebec City area “. Since then, it has been renamed La Ruche and has developed in other regions: Montreal, Mauricie, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Estrie. It works on the “all or nothing” model, that is, it only finances projects that have achieved their goal.
The term “crowdfunding” is not randomly chosen, as people, both promoters and contributors, are invited to participate in the projects: “The platform is used to connect people who have triumphant projects and people who want to contribute to these projects and who want to make a difference in the community “, explains Véronique Vigneault, director of La Ruche Estri
The community aspect is indeed valued by La Ruche. By grouping projects by region, it proposes “proximity” financing, as explained by Jean-Sébastien Noël, co-founder and general manager of La Ruche Québec: “We are the first step. I prefer to say that we do not “compete” with Kickstarter or the big global platforms. We complete their offer. An offer that is regional, an offer that also ties more and more with regional economic development tools, loans and subsidies that may exist. “
Can self-employed people use La Ruche for their projects?
People presenting their project on La Ruche can be companies, startups or non-profit organizations. As for the self-employed, they can also promote their project on the platform, particularly as a means of presale of a product or a service. However, Ms. Vigneault recalls that the management of a fundraising campaign has nothing to do with traditional financing: “There is really a way to approach people so that they are challenged by the project and they participate in it. One of these approaches is the counterparty structure, which is a way to reward contributors who encourage a project. These counterparties can take the form of tickets for an event, products (eg a record or a book), promotional items (ex .:
While self-employed individuals can use La Ruche to help fund their personal projects, they can also use this platform for projects that bring together other self-employed individuals, such as a collaborative workspace. This is the case of the Hangar , which wanted to settle in the region of Portneuf. Even if it did not succeed the crowdfunding stage , Le Hangar opened in April 2017. If it happened that your project does not meet the hoped for financial goal, remember that there is other solutions. “A failure in itself is not the end of the project,” sums up Mr. Noël.
How to succeed a crowdfunding project?
Mr. Noël and Ms. Vigneault are of the same opinion: a crowdfunding campaign does not happen by magic. The promoter is the first person on whom the success of the project depends and must make efforts: “We must, as a first step, be able to communicate our message, to challenge the people around us,” explains Ms. Vigneault. In a second time, to be able to be known in a slightly wider way and to be convincing. And finally, to be able to shine: through traditional media, social media, direct communication with people too. “
Fortunately, promoters can count on ambassadors , that is, influential entrepreneurs at the regional level. They can present their project during a Cell, which brings together eight to ten ambassadors ready to give their advice and support to the promoters. A favorable approach for small projects, but also for bigger ones. “Maybe your project has a global reach, like a startup or a video game, but are you ready to go global? questions Mr. Christmas. Maybe you better consolidate your network, your friends, a little more regionally … “
The La Ruche team also provides support, but it is the promoter who has to do most of the work. Three things to consider before launching a crowdfunding campaign: a financial goal linked to a tangible goal (eg $ 30,000 for the purchase of a pizza oven); a video describing the project; and a counterparty structure, which varies according to the project. Finally, the campaign runs for a limited period of up to a maximum of 90 days.
Even if projects targeting a large and large clientele are more likely to succeed in a crowdfunding campaign, it is possible to embark on a project with a narrower niche. The hive should be seen as a tool and not an end in itself. “What is important to understand is that crowdfunding is one of the elements in the realization of a project,” recalls Mr. Noël. And you, did you use La Ruche as a promoter or contributor? Feel free to tell your experience in the comments!