Kickstarter for Trinidad

It is Saturday before Christmas and the beginning of the long weekend. The place where I live is extremely quiet. There are hardly any cars on the road. I ate my breakfast and I am surfing the web. Then I came across Kickstarter and I started asking questions. Mainly, can Trinidadians use Kickstarter? Are Trinidadians using Kickstarter? Do we need a Kickstarter type website for Trinidad and Tobago/Caribbean? There is fundmetnt but the idea is not the same. Kickstarter is for creatives and you are creating a tangible deliverable that is shared with backers. Also there is a vetting process. Fundmetnt is more akin to gofundme.

I went to the Kickstarter website and I filtered by Trinidad and Tobago and only 17 projects were returned and many of them dated. This is not much. I contacted @kickstarter on Twitter and asked them "Hi. Can Trinidadians 🇹🇹 use Kickstarter? Will they be able to get the funds to their local bank?". I will also send an email. I will also send an email to the Ministry of Digital Transformation and the Fintech Association to get their thoughts. Bard tells me that Kickstarter is available to Trinidadians but I think he is wrong. I decided to test out the website for myself and I saw the location (of the project) where it says "Pick your country of legal residence if you’re raising funds as an individual. If you’re raising funds for a business or nonprofit, select the country where the entity’s tax ID is registered." does not include Trinidad and Tobago in the dropdown.

In this 2014 article by Bevil Wooding he states that, "In working with entrepreneurs and startups around the region, by far the main grievance aired is that [there] are not enough options to raise money to fund their startup dreams." In a 2015 article by Sajjad Hamid he writes that, "The crowdfunding model only works if you can access to a foreign Web site. There are no local versions here. But something tells me, given the benefits of these two innovative forms of financing, local financial entrepreneurs might be planning to enter the market soon."

The idea that getting funding for startups and projects is a problem faced by locals and that crowdfunding is one avenue to help this is not new but worth bringing up again and discussing. I asked my friend Bard what would a Trinidadian version of Kickstarter be called? Some of the responses made me chuckle like Bard kicksing with me or what? Like PelauPower: Referencing the beloved national dish as a metaphor for fueling dreams. What about LimeStarter: "Lime" meaning to hang out and have a good time, referencing the laid-back island vibe. I liked this one the most, TriniTribe: Emphasizing the supportive and collaborative nature of the Trinidadian community.


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