Downtown Newton, North Carolina, has been selected to become a Demonstration Site for a new, locally focused crowdfunding platform as part of a research project funded by the USDA. Downtown Newton is one of four communities recently chosen to launch the crowdfunding patform and demonstrate its effectiveness as an economic development tool.
The Local Crowd, a Laramie, Wyoming, based company, received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from USDA last fall to establish the Demonstration Sites. The Local Crowd’s platform offers features and educational programs designed to help rural communities activate entrepreneurial ecosystems and spur local investment. The two-year USDA grant will support the launch of 15 Demonstration Sites, with the ultimate goal of commercializing a new tool that provides better access to capital for businesses and organizations across rural America.
Downtown Newton Development Association (DNDA) will serve as the crowdfunding platform host. There are only 15 sites throughout the country at this point.
“We are very excited to be one of only a few communities selected nationwide to have access to this program,” said Shannon Johnson, the DNDA’s Main Street Program manager. “The DNDA expects the projects that are funded to really have an impact on some of our downtown businesses. Ultimately, the DNDA would like to utilize this type of funding as a catalyst to more significant financial options for downtown business growth.”