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Q and A with Guyana based Slingshot Funding

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How did you come up with the name Slingshot?

The name ‘Slingshot’ came about serendipitously. We were looking for something that would ‘ring a bell’ with the Guyanese at home and abroad, which meant it had to have a colloquial sound to it and spur nostalgia. After brainstorming and bouncing ideas back and forth nothing seemed to stick or sound just right. One evening as we were sharing stories of childhood days and reflecting on how youth ‘back in the day’ appreciated the outdoors way more than the youth of today, we realized that we all at some point in our childhoods owned or played around with slingshots and that was our eureka moment.

What problem is this trying to solve?

Undoubtedly, Guyanese entrepreneurs and small business owners have great ideas and concepts and promising businesses. However, most entrepreneurs lack the support they need to bring their ideas to reality.

It’s no secret that today small and aspiring entrepreneurs face many challenges, especially in developing countries, from financing opportunities to business support services and product development. While these issues are not exclusive to developing countries alone, the level of under-banked and unbanked businesses and entrepreneurs are much higher in developing countries.

Recognizing that the playing field can sometimes be imbalanced or unfair, Slingshot is founded on the principle of inclusivity and equal opportunity. At Slingshot Funding we want to link entrepreneurs with ideas to people who share the same interests and are just as passionate about idea.

In a snapshot, we want to, on the one hand, meet the changing and dynamic financing needs of entrepreneurs and small business owners in Guyana and in the wider Caribbean Community, and go beyond just financing to non-financial support and partnerships in business.

On the other hand, we want to provide economically sound business opportunities, projects and ideas to people and organizations that have interests in seeing our Caribbean communities grow, giving them an opportunity to become development partners, sponsors and ambassadors for development.

Is this for Guyanese projects only?

There is a saying that goes (paraphrase) “there are a lot of problems in the world, but if you want to solve world problems you must first start with the ones at home”. While Slingshot Funding will focus on Guyanese projects for now, we are definitely looking to expand and accept projects form entrepreneurs and organizations from the wider Caribbean and possibly even spread our winds South.

Are there other crowd sourcing platforms in the Caribbean?

As far as we are aware there is one other crowdfunding platform emanating from Jamaica – Pitch and Choose / Fund Rise Her.

Any plans to cater for persons without credit cards?

We are currently working with local telephone providers to have a payment system based on mobile money or mobile money transfers.

Why should someone choose Slingshot instead of one of the globally recognized options?

Slingshot Funding is a hybrid crowdfunding platform, which means it is designed with developing economies in mind. Unlike other crowd funding platforms that provide only the basics, that is, a platform to which anyone can upload projects, we recognized that, at least in Guyana’s context, there are youth and women with great potential and with sound entrepreneurial ideas, however they many not be in a position to bring their ideas to the forefront. Slingshot assists from the ground up – project proposal development, project designs (videos and pictures), getting the word out and even post funding business support services. Slingshot is more than just a crowdfunding platform it’s a ‘development ecosystem’ for budding entrepreneurs, community organizations and groups.

What technologies were used to build out the Slingshot platform?

Simple is always good and there was no need to ‘reinvent the wheel’. Our platform is similar to many others out there (indiegogo, kickstarter, go fund me and others), based on simple HTML coding and JavaScript. What sets us apart is how we use the technology and the added value of the services we bring to the table.

Anything else you would like to add?

We welcome all projects: green projects to film; theater; technology; art and craft; agriculture etc. It must be noted however, that in order to safeguard creators and innovators from being stuck “between a rock and a hard place”, that is, with only half or a fraction of the funding they require for a project and project supporters expecting full results, we do all or nothing funding.

Our point of view is that funders may be more likely to support a project if they are assured that they will be reimbursed or at least have the option of supporting another project if an initial project does not garner 100% funding support by a set deadline.

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