"The pooling of small contributions of funds from a group of people for the purpose of making something larger happen." – A Caribbean entrepreneur’s definition of crowdfunding
The flagship Crowdfunding MOOC for Caribbean Entrepreneurs (CMCE) is an exciting and innovative training course that combines unconventional approaches in entrepreneurship financing with an innovative online learning platform. Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs provide a free open access web-based learning platform to a large number of participants. MOOC platforms such as Coursera, EdX, and Stanford Venture Lab are democratizing education, transforming learning and promoting lifelong learning.
Around the world, national and international institutions, such as the World Bank Group are paying greater attention to the impacts of crowdfunding on local economic development. In the Caribbean, crowdfunding is a relatively new approach to financing entrepreneurship projects that use the power of the ‘crowd’ to collect small contributions from a number of supporters or customers to help finance start-ups, non-profit initiatives and social enterprises. CMCE aims to provide entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills to use crowdfunding to test the market demand for their product or service.
The World Bank Group’s Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC) is a seven-year CAD$20M program funded by the Government of Canada which became effective in March 2011. EPIC seeks to build an enabling ecosystem for growth-oriented and sustainable enterprises across 14 CARICOM countries, except Haiti. It has three core activity pillars: digital innovation, climate technology, and women-led entrepreneurship. These pillars are complemented by an access to finance program for Caribbean entrepreneurs, and a skills upgrading and capacity development program for all ecosystem stakeholders.
The Access to Finance (A2F) program under EPIC introduces innovative early-stage financing mechanisms, such as angel investments and crowdfunding. The Crowdfunding Massive Open Online Course for Caribbean Entrepreneurs is an A2F initiative which is facilitated by the ITC-ILO team with assistance from other international crowdfunding experts.