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Friedman: The seed for a better economy

BY IAN FRIEDMAN | AUGUST 27, 2012 6:30 AM

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A new online donation service created in the Iowa City and University of Iowa communities offers a new way for small businesses to finance their operations.

The company is called Seed Launcher; it allows local small businesses and members of the community to create online profiles in which individuals can donate as little as $1 to the local business of their choice. In turn, each business offers perks for every donation depending on the amount given.

Not only does the website provide a much more holistic method for funding small businesses, it has the potential to profoundly effect the community for years to come.

According to the State of Small Business Report conducted by Pepperdine University, 51 percent of small businesses generating less than $1 million have no form of financing.

This is a problem because small businesses, which composed 97.2 percent of Iowa’s employers and accounted for 51.8 percent of Iowa’s private-sector workforce in 2009, according to a report published by the Small Business Administration in January.

Instead of going to a bank for a loan, any business can make a profile on the website detailing its funding goal and for how long it looks to accept donations.

Anybody who donates to a given business receives special offers depending on the amount they donated.

Jeromy Sonne, a cofounder of Seed Launcher, said that by offering deals to customers who donate, small businesses are able to promote an “invested loyalty” — in other words, customers will know exactly what their money is going toward and will be rewarded for their deeds.

There are only be two companies registered on the website right now, but it is still in its primacy.

Furthermore, the owners of the website are in conversation with other small businesses in the area, and they hope to attract a diverse group of small-business owners to use their service.

So if you have a couple extra bucks lying around, donate to a local small business in need. It does something to donate to an ideological organization you believe in, but it’s another thing when you’re donating to support your local economy.


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