In this interview Michaela provides key insights such as:
I work with Middlesex University Business School as a consultant and part of my remit has included working closely with Anna Kyprianou, the Dean of the Business School and other members of her team on the launch and subsequent roll-out of MDXBusinessCrowdfund within the university.
Having successfully launched the site, our main focus now is on raising awareness of the platform and its benefits among students and staff, in addition to providing hands-on support to any would-be crowdfunders.
Anna’s rationale for launching the platform was to provide students and staff with a way of raising the necessary funds that are often required to turn really interesting ideas or projects into reality.
When combined with the support and guidance we offer, the platform is a powerful tool that has the potential to enable students and staff to fulfil entrepreneurial ambitions or personal aspirations.
It also allows some of the fantastic student and staff initiatives taking place within the university to be showcased to external audiences.
Middlesex University Business School is also using MDXBusinessCrowdfund as a learning tool for students.
These are still very early days but use of the platform has recently been incorporated into one business module as it enables students to market test their business ideas.
The Business School feels there is definitely scope for the platform to be used more fully as a learning tool as it enables students to put many of the skills they learn – from business planning through to marketing – into practice.
The first, Unite Nepal Org , seeks to provide a mechanism for the sharing of skills, ideas and expertise with the objective of generating innovative solutions for the long term infrastructural development of Nepal following the devastating earthquakes earlier this year.
The second, KitShare, is the brainchild of Middlesex University’s Well-Being Foundation, a social enterprise run almost entirely by Middlesex University students and alumni. Every year in the UK, there are lots of unwanted football kits that are either unused or chucked away. KitShare aims to raise enough money to ship out two 75kg boxes of some of these football kits to children in Gambia.
We are using a mix of on and offline channels:
We’re using as many channels as possible and have had solid support from the University’s marketing and communications department which has been great.
Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve from a crowdfunding platform!
Communication is key. You’re going to need support from other internal departments (e.g finance and marketing) so make sure that you get them on board at the outset because they’re going to play an important role in your ability to deliver.
If you give people enough lead time, collectively, you can pull together a decent plan of action – both in terms of enabling the smooth implementation of the platform and also effective promotion.
It sounds obvious but so much energy is taken up in the run up to launch. You need to be able to build awareness and maintain momentum internally but also among potential external supporters. For the latter you need to think about news hooks and milestones that will enable you to maintain visibility and magnify the promotional efforts of project creators who are using the platform.