Innovations That Matter

Crowdfunding a cultural hub


In 2008, Liverpool will be showcasing its cultural life as Europe’s Capital of Culture. While the city is spending GBP 3 billion on a ‘culture led transformation’, some believe Liverpool 08 would benefit from a community led alternative. Which prompted Mark Bowness, who previously founded crowdfunded ventures Tribe Wanted and, to start the Liverpool Cultural Cafe. Bowness, a Merseyside native, explains: “After learning about the cultures of Fiji, after bringing employment and investment to that area, I became passionate about doing the same in my home city.” His latest project aims to get 25,000 people to pledge a donation of GBP 20. The pooled amount of GBP 500,000 will be used to launch a platform for local talent—musicians, comedians and other artists. A bistro by day and bar by night, the Liverpool Cultural Cafe will be staffed by 12 trainees from low opportunity backgrounds, who will be trained by local businesses. Liverpool Cultural Cafe’s 25,000 investors will be able to influence the venture’s development through an online community developed for the project. If the initiative doesn’t work out, not much is lost, since investors don’t hand over their twenty quid until 24,999 others have agreed to do the same. If it does work, this could be a model for other civic groups to follow to get ventures off the ground without relying on government subsidies. One to watch in 2008!



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