Building community with Build Her Business
Third annual crowdfunding initiative aims to elevate and empower female entrepreneurs in Alberta.
By Erika Stark 19 November 2020 2 min read
Community-building has always been at the heart of Margaret Taylor’s business. The founder of nudemarket peanut butter says the relationships she’s built and the connections she’s made throughout her entrepreneurship journey are as important to her success as the financial side of the business.
That focus on community was a driving force behind Taylor’s decision to join ATB’s Build Her Business crowdfunding initiative last year. The annual crowdfunding campaign, delivered through the ATB BoostR platform, helps women entrepreneurs to raise capital, build community and receive mentorship through rewards-based crowdfunding.
“One of the main reasons I decided to join Build Her Business was because of the community that came with it,” says Taylor, who raised more than $5,000 for Nude Market during her 45-day campaign.
- Sign up: Applications for Build Her Business 2021 are open
- Watch: Build Her Business: Women entrepreneurs and crowdfunding
- Read: How to support the women entrepreneurs of Alberta’s economy
Rewards-based crowdfunding offers participants the chance to test the market for their products and raise capital for their business. Here’s how it works:
Businesses create a campaign for a set amount of capital to be raised
In return for contributions, the business pre-sells various rewards. Rewards can be substantial, or as simple as a virtual high five.
If a business reaches its set goal, the business receives the money and is responsible for sending out the rewards to its campaign contributors.
Crowdfunding is a credible financing source—and it’s one where women outperform men, says Carly Wells, the senior manager of ATB BoostR. According to PwC Consulting, compared to men, women are 32% more successful in reaching their target and tend to pull in a higher average pledge amount.
Start or grow your business with crowdfunding
For nudemarket, Build Her Business offered Taylor the chance to develop her branding and build awareness for her existing products. But crowdfunding is also an incredible way for aspiring entrepreneurs to test whether their business idea will sink or swim in the market. That’s why Isoken Asemota joined the program last year. She’d just founded CIK (pronounced “seek”) Strength, which sells high-quality exercise bands.
“I was actually just starting off, so for me the Build Her Business platform was a way for me to actually test my product in the market and really get a response from people,” explains Asemota, who is also a manager of entrepreneurship at ATB. “I just put myself out there. It really pushed me—I was going to events to show my product and really talking to people.”
Fortunately for Asemota, she indeed found a market for her product. She exceeded her $2,000 goal on ATB BoostR during her Build Her Business campaign, and began to build a community around her brand and her offerings.
The importance of community
Build Her Business grants female entrepreneurs access to more than just a platform to raise money for their business, says Wells. Participants are part of a Facebook group that’s grown to more than 570 members over the last three years, and they also receive support from ATB experts from start to finish through webinars, virtual networking events and one-on-one advice.
“It goes back to that community piece and really building things together,” says Wells. “Obviously we can't get together in person because of COVID-19, so we're trying to find really creative ways of how we can still get those relationships to continue.”
“It's all about collaboration, not competition.”