Social media has had an unparalleled impact on the world. While the jury is still out on whether the general impact has been positive or negative, over these past few weeks, I have witnessed the positive impact it can have.
“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.” Erik Qualman
In December @ngartia, a popular tweep, reached out to Juliani, a famous musician, asking if he could perform at his album launch. Juliani agreed to @ngartia’s proposition on condition that he was able to garner 5,000 retweets.
Would @ngartia have landed this opportunity if it were not for social media? In all fairness, he may have but he would have had to work so much harder. Social media has broken down many traditional barriers and enabled users to directly communicate with companies, celebrities…anyone really.
If you had an issue with Safaricom and wanted a quick response, will you call them or reach out to them on social media?
A few weeks later, @Miss_Patriciah tweeted asking people to share their side hustles and businesses. In just 3 days, she received over 100 responses and some of the businesses shared were brilliant. A similar themed tweet by @Carolinespencer generated over 495 responses.
“Don’t use social media to impress people; use it to impact people.” Dave Willis
These two instances opened my eyes to the opportunities that social media could have on young businesses and entrepreneurs. One of the main problems they face is lack of capital to start or ramp up their existing businesses. Financing options, particularly for entrepreneurs and young businesses, is difficult to come by. Can social media be used to solve this problem?
“Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people typically online.”
If we are to create a platform where entrepreneurs with new projects (particularly those that solve societal problems) are able to post their projects and share them with the public, who in turn, decide to fund the ideas they believe in, we could potentially see not only the birth of new businesses but the coming to light of unique solutions to solve some of the societal challenges we face.
Of the 208,135 projects launched on Kickstarter, 40% have been successful.
We already have Kenyans online and actively using social media. Betting companies like SportPesa have also shown us the power of small amounts of money multiplied over a large number of people. Can we use crowdfunding to provide our entrepreneurs with capital and fund ideas that will solve some of our societal problems?