March 2014

Crowdfunding: a valuable financing opportunity for service enterprises

Crowdfunding: a valuable financing opportunity for service enterprises

Linda Schmid, Trade in Services International[i]


Q1: How can small enterprises, from least developed, developing, and transition economies, access crowdfunding?

A1: Service enterprises can use the online clearinghouse Crowdsunite[1] to find crowdfunding sites that serve a particular country, interest, and financing preference such as debt, equity, or donation. For example, Crowdsunite identified Indiegogo[2] as the number one site for Belize.   Indiegogo provides services in 193 countries in 26 currencies. Musicians are using the platform to finance recordings and tours. For technologically astute enterprises, the WPMU DEV Fundraising[3] plug-in can expand the fundraising functionality of an entrepreneur’s website.  With adequate bandwidth, service providers can reach financial supporters.

Q2: What are the challenges of creating a successful crowdfunding campaign?

A2: There is a learning curve in establishing a successful campaign. Each crowdfunding website has a unique approach and requirements for starting a campaign. However, most have training videos to explain how to use their website. From an empirical standpoint, recent analysis[4] of crowdfunding data indicates that donors prefer minimal funding requests, female borrowers, and short-term projects.  A survey of crowdfunding campaigns, suggests that a concise narrative, exceptional photos, and high quality videos contribute to a successful campaign for supporters.  Service entrepreneurs should plan to invest time in developing a concise and visually attractive campaign that appeals to potential donors.

Q3: Has crowdfunding replaced traditional micro-finance institutions?

A3: Not at all, in fact some crowdfunding sites work through local micro-finance institutions to reach clients. Service entrepreneurs can use the Micro-Finance Information Exchange (MIX) Market website[5] to identify micro-finance institutions in their home country. As an example, the MIX Market website identifies 3 micro-finance institutions operating in Belize including the Belize Rural Finance Program,[6] La Immaculada Credit Union Limited,[7] and the Development Finance Corporation (DFC).[8]  The DFC extends loans to the services sector including creative industries according to its website.  Service entrepreneurs can tap into online crowdfunding opportunities as well as traditional sources of micro-finance to raise capital.

[4] Source: Raj M. Desai, Homi Kharas, The Wisdom of Crowd-Funders: What Motivates Cross-Border Private Development Aid?, Global Economy & Development Brookings Institution, Working Paper 64, December 2013.

[i] Linda Schmid is an Independent Trade and Development Consultant (Email:, Skype: ls_trade1).  She previously served as the World Trade Organization (WTO) Component Leader of the USAID Investment Climate Improvement Project in the West Bank.  She acted as the Trade in Services Officer, International Trade Centre in Geneva.  She is a contributing author to International Trade in Services: New Trends and Opportunities for Developing Countries, World Bank 2010 as well as Managing the Challenges of WTO Participation, Cambridge University Press 2005.

Placencia Small Business Development

SBDCBelize and Compete Caribbean

In light of upcoming investment developments to the south of Belize, a one week capacity building workshop, executed by SBDCBelize Beltraide with approved funds from Compete Caribbean, took place in the Placencia Village in collaboration with the Placencia Village Council. This workshop was geared towards targeting new and existing entrepreneurs in order to enhance their business skills, professional services and standards.

Twenty participants, who comprised of entrepreneurs and business-people from Placencia and the surrounding area, spent one week learning various business centered topics. These participants came from various backgrounds and professions. They included: These topics included: Entrepreneurial Development; Basic Business Plan Development; Costing and Pricing; Record Keeping; Developing Customer Service; Logistics; and Marketing and Sales. They were all challenged to be creative, innovative, original, self-confident, and responsible throughout the entire program. Keeping those main points in mind allowed them to constantly think of ways to create value and build new business ideas, or seek ways to improve and enhance their existing businesses.

Everyone participating fully engaged with the trainers, brought creative ideas and comments to the workshop, and made wonderful contributions towards the development of their existing and potential business ideas. At the end of the week, their creativity and willingness to grow as entrepreneurs allowed them to remain on course and graduate. All participants stated that it was a wonderful experience meeting different people within the community and surrounding areas, and being able to share and interact during the one week period.


CCIC Grant Funding Opportunity






Making Small Business Happen

The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) is working along with the Small Business Development Centre (SBDCBelize), a unit of BELTRAIDE, to create economic opportunities, promote social progress, and strengthen communities and civil society.

The program has three main objectives:
• Develop employability and entrepreneurial skills among youths by completing a 12-week training program on small business development as well as through work readiness and life skills methodologies
• Create opportunities for self-employment through modest seed funding in the form of matching grants for entrepreneurship initiatives
• Increase youth employability through hiring events and other services to match trained youth with employers in sector such as business outsourcing processes and tourism and hospitality

CARIBBEAN SCIENCE FOUNDATION (CSF) Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE)

Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE)  


Please be reminded that the deadline for submission of student applications to the 2014 Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE) is only TWO weeks away (March 31, 2014).  Image

SPISE Announcement


Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE)


Please be reminded that the deadline for submission of student applications to the 2014 Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE) is only TWO weeks away (March 31, 2014).  

SPISE Students Work On Their Underwater Robot

The goal of SPISE is to help groom the next generation of Caribbean science, engineering and business leaders who will help to diversify the economies of the Region. SPISE is a rigorous 4-week residential program for gifted Caribbean high school students interested in pursuing careers in disciplines related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and is modeled after the well-known MITES program at MIT.  SPISE offers university-level classes in calculus, physics, biochemistry, and hands-on classes in robotics, electronics and programming along with entrepreneurship, Mandarin and seminars on Caribbean unity. SPISE has served 26 stellar students in its first two years. Please view 2012 SPISE Video.

We are proud to report that six SPISE graduates will be enrolling this fall at some of the world’s top science and engineering universities, and some of these students have been offered full scholarships.  Participation in the SPISE is free to all students.  The program uses the facilities of the Barbados campus of the University of the West Indies.  A full description of the SPISE program, a set of frequently-asked questions, and all application materials are on the: CSF Web Site.

Application forms for teaching Assistant and Instructor positions are also available at the same website.

Corporations and Individuals are urgently needed to support students applying to the 2014 SPISE, especially from Jamaica, Guyana and the OECS countries.  The cost of supporting a student is USD6,000 plus roundtrip travel for the student to and from Barbados.

The CSF and its founding Diaspora organization, CADSTI, also arrange Internship opportunities for SPISE graduates. Corporations conducting science and/or engineering applied research are needed to provide summer internships in 2015. We are proud to announce that three technology companies are offering a total of 6 internships to SPISE graduates in the summer of 2014.  This is a great recruiting tool for the corporations, and the students gain valuable hands-on experience not only in technical fields, but also in the running and the operations of a technology corporation – a win-win opportunity.

The CSF is extremely grateful and appreciative of its 2012 and 2013 partners who have supported students into the SPISE.  These supporters include Scotiabank, Williams Industries (Barbados), Light and Power Holdings, St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC), MIT Sea Grant Program, Neal & Massy Foundation, Central Bank of Barbados, Caribbean Development Bank, Belize Telemedia Limited, Belize Public Utilities Commission, National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited, Trinidad & Tobago Ministry of Education, BG Energy Holdings Limited, National Milling Co. of Guyana , US Embassy (Barbados and E.C.), Family of Linda Su-Nan Chang Sah, WERI LLC (Korea), Nicholas Brathwaite’s PETNA Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Horace Cobham, Friends of Guyana and Friends of Jamaica.

If you are an individual interested in sponsoring a student, or you represent a corporation which would like to add the CSF or SPISE to your list of corporate social responsibility initiatives, or if you would like to offer a summer internship, please contact Prof. Cardinal Warde at: or by telephone at: 1-617-699-1281.

Donations at any level, at any time, by anyone to the CSF can be also be made by:

1) Credit card at the CADSTI Web Site. CADSTI is the Diaspora organization that founded the CSF.
2) Check made payable in US dollars or Barbados dollars to the Caribbean Science Foundation, and mailed to:
Caribbean Science Foundation

CARICOM Research Building
UWI Cave Hill Campus

St. Michael


3) Wire to:



Bank Key (bank + branch code): BANK OF NOVA SCOTIA (40055)

Bank Address: Broad Street, Bridgetown, Barbados

Account Name: Caribbean Science Foundation

Account Number: 9013083


The Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF) is an independent, non-profit non-governmental organization.  The work of the CSF is supported in part by the Caribbean Diaspora for Science, Technology and Innovation (CADSTI) which founded the CSF as its implementation arm in 2010. CADSTI (see CADSTI Web Site) has its center of gravity outside the Region, and its primary function is to mine and mobilize the resources in the world-wide Caribbean Diaspora in support of the CSF.

The mission of the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF) is to assist with the diversification of the economies of the Caribbean Region by harnessing science and technology for economic development, and to help raise the standard of living of Caribbean people.  Specifically, the CSF will continue to:

1. Stimulate technology-based entrepreneurship – by identifying and funding science and technology projects in new and existing enterprises that are relevant to the economic development needs of the Region.

2. Accelerate education reform that supports technology-based entrepreneurship by promoting and funding programs that focus on:

 – The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines

Business and entrepreneurship education

 – Foreign languages and communication skills in schools, universities and other educational venues

3. Provide scientific and engineering advisory services to Caribbean governments by working with CADSTI to leverage the expertise that resides in the Diaspora.

Compete Caribbean

Inter-American Development Bank



Maxwell Main Road

Christ Church


 Tel: (246) 627-8500

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