Do you have a whimsical idea or a project you would like to carry out? Get the word out! Today the Internet and the social networks have incredible communication power. We have found two interesting websites, IndieGoGo and Kickstarter, to help you do just this.
IndieGoGo is a global fund raising platform founded in 2008, where you can create a campaign to raise money quickly and securely.
Anybody with an idea (creative, cause-related or entrepreneurial) can create a campaign and offer perks or tax reductions to their contributors. Each campaign has the opportunity to be featured on the IndieGoGo homepage, placed in the press or exposed via social media.
Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects only. Projects on Kickstarter are not open-ended or charity-related; they must have a clear goal, such as producing an album, a book or a work of art. Starting a business, for example, does not qualify as a project. It’s a great platform for artists, filmmakers, musicians, designers, writers, illustrators, explorers, curators and performers to bring their projects, events and dreams to life.
Starting a project is very exciting, but it also involves some risks. Make sure you consider these risks. For example, making sure you hold the patent in the relevant countries so that you can launch your project soon after the funds have been collected is critical for product related projects.
According to the BBC, China is the world’s biggest market for cars. In the mid-80s, the country only produced a few thousand cars, and hardly anyone had one. Now, it is the world’s largest producer of cars and the world’s largest consumer. Last year in China, 18 million vehicles were sold, over 5 million than in the US.
This trend might be good news to the automakers, but it also leads to quite a big downside: a massive rise in traffic. However, the ever expanding urban population needs to keep moving, so fortunately the Chinese government does have a solution. Building mega buses could be the way forward.
The 3D Fast Bus from the Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Company is an example of this solution. This huge prototype can carry up to 1,000 passengers, but its most innovative feature is its design. It skips traffic problems by straddling the road, allowing it to cruise over traffic congestion or allowing traffic to flow underneath it when it is stopped. Passengers ride in a cabin 5m above the ground, on wheels supported on streamlined stilts.
Designers of the 3D Fast Bus say the electric bus could reduce gridlocked traffic by up to 30% and cost only 10% of the price of an underground transportation system to build.
How do people cope with job insecurity and a lack of opportunities? Many Brits are choosing self-employment. The Guardian has recently published an article about this new trend: many who have recently become self-employed are satisfied with their jobs. According to financial recruitment consultancy Robert Half, 29% of HR executives in the UK mention work-life balance as the main reason employees leave. Many consider self-employment when they realise they work better on their own and they can stretch themselves, often discovering skills they didn’t know they had.
This self-employment fad is led by women. In fact, the working world has a culture essentially hostile to family life, which still is a bigger problem for women than for men. The promise of flexible working is a myth to many: now around 70% of British companies prefer not to hire a mum because of the potential for additional maternity leave or time off for sick children. The problem of getting women onto company boards or other top roles in business is well documented.
Laura Rigney turned that problem into her business model; she started Mumpreneur in 2010. It offers events, advice and support for mothers thinking of becoming self-employed. Rigney says that when a mum starts a business, nine times out of ten she will start it when she is on maternity leave. Mums tend to grow their business slowly while their children are young, and a significant growth normally doesn’t arrive before year four of the business. This slow growth can be one reason why it is impossible for them to secure bank loans.
Rigney’s business is growing, with Mumpreneur’s fourth annual conference expecting double the delegates of its launch event, a national roadshow in the pipeline and daily requests for regional events.