Crowdfunding online can help supply some vital interim cash flow for Malta’s businesses, Zaar manager Matthew Caruana tells Laura Bonnici.
Times are tough for businesses across the globe. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, most have had to adapt seemingly overnight, or else face possible closure. But in the almost-solely virtual world that has now resulted, there is still hope, support and – crucially – funds to be found for struggling businesses. And crowdfunding is where they can be found.
Pandemic notwithstanding, crowdfunding is already one of the world’s favourite forms of alternative finance, for everyone from entrepreneurial newbies to major corporations. What’s more, it offers not just funding, but a greater connection with a business’s target audience – or ‘crowd’ – that could last well beyond the close of a successful crowdfunding campaign.
This boosted bond between a business and its crowd, at a time when everyone is in the same metaphorical isolation boat, is now especially important not just on a social level but also on a financial one.
“Crowdfunding has always been ideal for connecting a project to its crowd while raising some much-needed capital – and in the light of the current situation, crowdfunding becomes an even more useful resource,” explained Matthew Caruana, manager at Malta’s only online crowdfunding platform, Zaar.
“With most people staying safe at home, one of their only ways to connect with the outside world is online. And since your crowd is online, your business can also engage with them online through crowdfunding, while raising vital funds that may be able to tide your business over until a ‘new normal’ is established.”
Crowdfunding for business may be used to encourage pre-sales of a new or emerging product, promote upcoming product releases, or sell services or products in advance that can be used by the consumer at a later date.
In a crowdfunding campaign launched on Zaar, which specialises in rewards-based crowdfunding, a business could offer its services at a discounted rate, as well as vouchers, exclusive offers or attractive products as incentives to help reach its funding goal.
“Through crowdfunding, the public can help save their favourite local provider while staying in the safety of their own homes, by giving that business some vital cash flow as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. A backer’s cash contribution, however small, could make or break that business, helping to save the jobs of its employees or support the family of someone self-employed,” Caruana continued.
“Hopefully then, whatever the other side of this pandemic may look like, that business will have had enough money to stay afloat, and may have even been financially able to embark on online projects to be better equipped for the world after the COVID-19 crisis. Plus, its customers will be ready to enjoy their pre-booked service or product. It’s a win-win.”
Founded by a unique collaboration between the University of Malta and the Malta Business Bureau, Zaar has become a hugely popular resource locally for business ventures across a range of industries and is a Gold Member of the European Crowdfunding Network (ECN). As a corruption of the word żgħar meaning small, Zaar promotes entrepreneurship in Malta and supports local businesses of any size through encouraging backers to donate anything, even just their small change.
“At Zaar we believe that great ideas should go far, and it has always been our mission to provide the space for that to happen,” explained Caruana. “As local businesses survive the current situation, we can help them thrive more than ever. Through crowdfunding on Zaar, any business can find the support they need to weather the storm.”
For more information about how crowdfunding on Zaar can help local businesses, visit http://www.zaar.com.mt/crowdfunding-smes/.
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