Crowdfunding making dreams come true

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KKCO) -- Crowdfunding is a way for businesses or individuals to raise money for products online. It's a risk, and there are no guarantees, but local entrepreneurs tell us you miss every shot you don't take.

"It's a lot of work, and it's hard to stay motivated on it," said Julie Tierney, a local fashion designer and founder of J.M.F.T. Industries.

Tierney has used "Kickstarter," one of many online platforms that uses crowdfunding.

"I was successful. I did fund it. I wish I would've raised more money. It does get taxed, and I would've had more planning and more events throughout the whole thing," recalled Tierney, who was also featured on the television show "Project Runway."

Kickstarter gives you a time limit to raise a certain amount of money.

"You get to see what sells, and who your customer is. Io I could see that I have not as many, but people are willing to spend more money, so I'm more of a high-fashion than straight, commercial, generic," said Tierney.

Kickstarter also allows investors to buy products from small companies or individuals.

"A handful of times, especially during the creation of a film, we used Kickstarter to get to the next step," said Dave Hansow, founder of Light Gives Heat, a local non-profit that employs women in Uganda to make jewelry.

Hansow's charity has also used crowdfunding.

"We needed to raise, let's say, $20,000 for the next step of producing the film, and so we'll set a goal for that much, have kickbacks set at those different amounts, so three different times over the past year, we've been successful with it," said Hansow.

Kickbacks mean the investor is rewarded with a product.

"I've been seeing an interest ever since this whole idea of crowdfunding rolled out," said Julie Morey, Director of the Small Business Development Center at the Grand Junction Business Incubator.

Morey is seeing more clients use crowdfunding.

"I think it's going to be a great tool, and I've already seen my clients use it, maybe not in this higher level format, but the Kickstarter format has helped quite a few of our local businesses," said Morey.

Both Tierney and Hansow highly recommend crowdfunding for aspiring entrepreneurs.

"I would just really set yourself a month before you're actually going to do it, that it's all done, and get all the kinks out and all the planning, so you know exactly how it's going to go down," said Tierney.

For more information on all the businesses and crowdfunding itself, see the links below under "Related Links."

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