Did you know that you are more likely to raise money from ‘the crowd’ if you have over 1,000 Facebook friends, or that there are four different types of crowdfunding? With innovation money from Europe, academics are applying their expertise in crowdfunding to support start ups, including a business that helps parents When you team up an entrepreneur who is launching an innovative new app with an academic with expertise in real-world business economics, you might expect the entrepreneur to benefit from the partnership the most. But equally beneficial, as Professor of Economics Emanuele Giovannetti explains, are the insights such collaborations offer the academics. Anglia Ruskin’s Emanuele and his PhD student Will Davies were paired up with Babita Devi, an entrepreneur who has created the mySircles mobile app. This was made possible thanks to Innovation Bridge. This is a project that provides individual entrepreneurs or small start-ups with free support and expertise from academics to develop a new product or service – funded by the European Regional Development Fund. “Innovation Bridge acts like a platform, matching demand and supply for consultancy based on academic research,” says Emanuele. mySircles is a new app which will allow parents to build up a digital timeline of their child’s journey through school, and to communicate with other parents. “The idea was to create a secure network for parents and children and teachers, that could create new communities and new forms of interaction to organise events.” The aspect of the project that Emanuele and Will were able to offer support in, though, was its funding. Will explains: “Babita came up with the general idea of crowdfunding, which was why we were brought in.” For crowdfunding is the subject of Will’s PhD thesis, and the
It’s important for our research to have an impact outside academia. Babita found us more approachable than other universities. It’s often difficult for an innovator to have access to academia”
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