New this round, the Mayor’s office has worked with Chicago-based MillerCoors to create a $50,000 matching fund for Seed Chicago projects. The fund will provide selected projects with a dollar-for-dollar match up to $5,000, contingent on a project’s successful achievement of its Kickstarter funding goal.
“Chicago’s strength is in our neighborhoods and our residents’ passion for expanding economic opportunity for their fellow Chicagoans,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Seed Chicago takes an innovative approach to creating economic growth that challenges communities and businesses to work together to develop and fund creative projects that have a direct, positive impact on neighborhoods and create important jobs.”
Seed Chicago highlights local, impactful small business and community development projects which create economic opportunity in Chicago’s neighborhoods. Using Kickstarter’s online crowdfunding platform, project creators and potential backers unite with the shared goal of bringing creative projects to life. The second round of Seed Chicago includes 14 innovative projects based throughout Chicago.
“At MillerCoors we are always looking for innovative ways to support our hometown communities, so we are thrilled to be working with Seed Chicago to fuel economic empowerment locally in Chicago’s neighborhoods,” said Tom Long, MillerCoors Chief Executive Officer. “This program embraces technology and encourages creativity to deliver economic growth to our city, and we are excited to be working alongside the Mayor’s Office and World Business Chicago on this unique opportunity.”
The second round projects selected to Seed Chicago include:
- Austin: YoLo’s Food & Snacks will serve healthier, affordable versions of traditional foods
- Lakeview: Geek Bar will become Chicago’s first bar-and-grill catering to the “geek” community
- Lakeview: WindyCitySDR will manufacture a software radio
- Logan Square: One-P Athletic and Apparel will design and manufacture sportswear promoting wellness and lifelong activity
- Morgan Park: Artist Robert Stampas will hand-draw a book of 200 realistic pencil portraits
- South Chicago: Pet Project will produce signs on ecofriendly material, warning people about entirely harmless pets
Community Development Projects:
- Chatham: Role Model Movement, Inc. will travel to all 77 Chicago communities and capture neighborhoods’ distinct characteristics for a book
- Pilsen: The Chicago Urban Art Society will create an incubator space for public art projects
- River North: AddATree will facilitate education and volunteer efforts for neighborhood citizens to learn tree care basics and contribute to community gardens and park clean-up
- Rogers Park: The Rogers Park Business Alliance will create a multilingual business incubator for artisanal food businesses that source locally and work sustainably
- Rogers Park: The Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce will host the Taste of Rogers Park, an event to promote local musicians and the art district
- South Chicago: The South Chicago Chamber of Commerce will host an arts-and-crafts fair
- Wicker Park: Dimo’s Pizza will sponsor and care for a community “People Spot” at the six-corner intersection of Milwaukee, North and Damen Avenues
- Woodlawn: The Lipstick Society will introduce theater to local youth with a live performance
Accion Chicago and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) assisted WBC in identifying projects for the inaugural round of Seed Chicago and continue to help develop the pilot program for use by the small businesses and community groups in their networks. The inaugural set of Seed Chicago projects completed their Kickstarter campaigns in May, with five of the 11 featured projects achieving full backing from supporters. More than $50,000 was pledged to those five projects from nearly 900 contributors.
Based on findings from the first round, projects must now first be vetted by Kickstarter to ensure their campaign goals and incentives match what Kickstarter backers typically support. Projects then apply to WBC to participate in Seed Chicago. Projects must have funding targets below $10,000, consistent with the average range of successful Kickstarter campaigns, and demonstrate a focus on business and job growth or neighborhood revitalization.
Seed Chicago projects benefit from aggregated attention as part of a curated page, which Kickstarter notes improves success rates. Seed Chicago projects also have access to a variety of planning and management tools developed by WBC, as well as opportunities to collaborate with other Seed Chicago participants throughout the project campaigns to share ideas and lessons learned.
Seed Chicago is a direct result of the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, developed by WBC at the request of Mayor Emanuel to accelerate Chicago’s economy. A central Plan strategy is to foster development of local talent, business and real estate assets throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods. Seed Chicago’s goal is to make more financing solutions available to Chicago’s businesses and communities.