By Alex Gladu, Writer, Independent We Stand
The Mile High Business Alliance encourages Colorado consumers to buy local, bank local and brew local – but that’s not all. It also challenges community members to become Neighborhood Catalysts, by using an innovative crowdfunding platform to support small business projects. As a result, the group has raised thousands of dollars and sparked community investment across a wide range of industries.
Based in Denver, the Mile High Business Alliance spreads the buy local movement throughout Colorado with its local business directory, annual campaigns and legislative advocacy efforts. For example, the annual Local Food Think Tank brings local food experts together to find new ideas and determine best practices for food growers and retailers.
Beyond these programs, the Mile High Business Alliance has launched a crowdfunding platform specifically for local groups and businesses. The Neighborhood Catalyst program lets Coloradoans submit a project, along with a request for resources. Projects must be intended to help the local community or economy, and backers can contribute money, goods or skills to support the project. Projects have just 60 days to reach their goal, although there is no shortage of success stories.
Through the Neighborhood Catalyst program, Extreme Community Makeover, a group that brings volunteers together to revitalize Denver neighborhoods, raised more than $8,000 — surpassing its $7,500 goal – to purchase a much-needed truck. Very Special Arts Colorado/Access Gallery raised more than $1,500 for a summer art camp for teenagers with disabilities.
In total, the Neighborhood Catalyst program has raised more than $44,000 for local groups and businesses. A network of 542 backers has also contributed more than 1,000 volunteer hours and $4,500 in in-kind contributions. The average donation amount is almost $100. The work that Neighborhood Catalysts have done has impacted eight Colorado communities so far and it has spanned industries ranging from local food to Web and technology.
The Mile High Business Alliance keeps Colorado communities thinking about local development and innovation. Its Neighborhood Catalyst platform keeps consumers and innovators connected to each other in order to produce real results within the state. For more information about the Mile High Business Alliance, visit www.milehighbiz.org.