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‘kickstart’- Ing New N. Y. C. Investments

Pols Partner With Fund-Raising Site

The city has launched a new initiative with the online fundraising website Kickstarter to increase investments in low-income neighborhoods, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced on Monday, Aug. 13.

While New York City is home to nearly 200,000 small businesses, business owners in low-income communities continue to face barriers to growth, including insufficient access to capital. To help them receive much-needed funding, the City Council is working with Kickstarter to highlight local projects by creating its own page on the site.

The New York City Council’s page on Kickstarter features an array of projects in neighborhoods across the five boroughs. Local residents will have the chance to contribute to projects they want to see in their districts.

The collaboration will also promote community development across the five boroughs. The Council’s page will serve as a place for residents to pledge their support for local projects that have the potential to yield a variety of benefits to underserved communities. New Yorkers are looking to invest in their city, and this partnership provides them to means to get involved.

Here’s how it works: someone with an idea for a community project or a creative venture can post a proposal on the Kickstarter website. Residents will be able to pledge money, and if the project is fully funded, those residents will receive a reward for their help.

Projects like Seasoned Vegan-a new mother-son owned vegan restaurant in Harlem-are being featured on the New York City Council Kickstarter page. Kickstarter helped the group raise $22,185, and in exchange for their pledges, backers will receive rewards ranging from free cupcakes to having dishes on the menu named after them.

Seasoned Vegan is slated to open in September, and will not only create jobs for the neighborhood, but will also host cooking and entrepreneurial classes for local students, through a community-outreach program.

“From East New York to the South Bronx, we’re going to kickstart New York’s low-income communities through our partnership with Kickstarter,” said Speaker Quinn in a statement. “New Yorkers are still struggling, and we need to do everything we can to give people a leg up.”

Kickstarter has facilitated the funding of more than 27,000 creative projects since its launch in April 2009 and more than two million people have pledged over $300 million in support of these projects.

“Gaining access to startup capital is a major hurdle for any entrepreneur, creative or otherwise. This is especially true for entrepreneurs and artists in our city’s poorer communities,” said City Council Member Al Vann. “[The] City Council’s new Kickstarter page will connect New Yorkers with dreams to others who want to participate in their success. In so doing, the page will shift the focus from the negative statistics that often define these communities to the creativity and potential that exists within them. I look forward to seeing new projects on the page each month and to watching the dreams of New Yorkers come true.”

The Council Kickstarter page can be found at www.kickstarter.com/NYC.

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