Enabling entrepreneurs to raise money from a large number of people via online platforms, Crowdfunding is a form of fundraising where businesses ask the public for a contribution, usually in exchange for equity in the company. This relatively low-risk way for startups to raise capital is a fast way to raise finance with no upfront fees, and it can be a great marketing tool.
Established in 2021, FundingHope, LLC is the only online investment marketplace that is entirely focused on connecting impact investors with entrepreneurs and small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) focused on achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets in distressed, at-risk, and rural communities.
Spearheaded by Co-Founder & Managing Director, Dorian Dickinson, this platform is created for those who want to invest in what is important to them. He shares, “We’re transforming how impact investments reach those who have been left behind by big banks and Wall Street and we are providing a platform so everyone can invest in those most in need.”
Connecting Everyday Investors to Entrepreneurs
FundingHope connects investors with entrepreneurs contributing to at least one UN Sustainable Development Goal in distressed, at-risk, or rural communities. After that, what the investors decide to invest in is up to them. Thanks to FundingHope and the JOBS Act of 2012, anyone can become an investor in private markets and invest directly in vetted startups. FundingHope brings impact investing opportunities to everyday investors with a click of a button.
“Raising capital for your business is a process, and it requires a lot of hard work and dedication. There are several strategies to obtain business funding. They all begin with developing a solid business plan, building a strong professional network, researching various funding sources – including investment crowdfunding – preparing a compelling story and pitch deck, and being persistent,” explains Dickinson.
The go-to investment marketplace that connects impact investors with entrepreneurs and small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) focused on achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), FundingHope is revolutionizing how startups and small businesses raise capital. With the tagline: Bridging the Gap, the organization contributes to a safer, cleaner, healthier future in disadvantaged communities and makes a meaningful difference in their community.
Committed to Sustainability
For the past fifteen years, Dickinson has worked to improve rural, distressed, and at-risk communities across the United States and around the world. He has witnessed first-hand that traditional funding models are broken. Entrepreneurs and small business owners in these communities often experience the greatest difficulties accessing legitimate financial resources and traditional capital sources are typically unavailable or prohibitively costly.
For over a decade, Dickinson has worked on economic development and sustainability projects in rural America, conflict zones, and developing countries. He believes poverty hotspots represent a serious challenge to the “leave no one behind” spirit of the UN sustainability goals and put residents at increased risk for poverty and food insecurity, mental illness, chronic disease, higher mortality, diminished earning capacity, and lower life expectancy. These all lead to a culture of despair and a loss of hope.
To address this, Dickinson has dedicated his career to creating and building economic development activity, sustainability programs, and improved health and sanitation initiatives in rural and economically challenged communities in the US, Mexico, South America, the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Mr. Dickinson worked with the leadership team that developed the first commercial poultry farming operation in Afghanistan in over 40 years.
He has also developed several rural development programs that aim to disrupt drug cartel routes in Mexico and Central America, and he has introduced renewable energy and improved sanitation to drought-stricken areas of Kenya and Palestine.
Throughout his career, Dickinson has provided numerous high-profile clients with the best strategic business development services available. He approaches every project with a focus on; identifying specific challenges, maximizing potential, increasing growth opportunities, and expanding global reach.
Awards and Recognitions
The American Farm Bureau Federation recognized Dickinson as the architect of the first comprehensive agribusiness-focused economic development program for rural communities. He is also a commissioned Kentucky Colonel, the highest title of honor bestowed by the Governor of Kentucky, as recognition of his noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to the community, state, nation, and planet.
Dickinson has twice been named Illinois Agribusiness Leader of the Year, has served as a charter board member of the Council of the Great Lakes Region, and has been recognized by Canada’s Governor General, as a cross-border economic development leader.
"My advice to someone who wants to be disruptive in their industry is to be passionate about your vision, be resilient, adaptable to change, and keep a customer focus on what is needed in the market."
Leading for Growth
Like most entrepreneurs, Dickinson has faced and overcome numerous challenges and failures on his journey to success. “I do my best to deal with them by accepting failure as part of the process, embracing a growth mindset, seeking support and advice from my network, staying focused on the big picture, and adapting to a rapidly changing marketplace,” he shares.
Dickinson believes that it is important to stay flexible and adaptable in the face of change. The business environment is constantly evolving, and a successful entrepreneur needs to be able to pivot quickly to stay ahead of the competition.
Dickinson attributes his success to his wife Sarah, who has continued to support and encourage him during moments of success and hours of challenges. “She has given me the professional courage I’ve needed to build businesses, improve communities, and change lives. She reminds me that we are in this together to guide and support one another. Financially, spiritually, and emotionally… she gives me faith and the belief that we can do something unique and different. She is my soundboard for new ideas, no matter how crazy they seem at first, and she pushes me to overcome the challenges that I face in the business world,” he shares.
Ushering in a New Era
Investment crowdfunding is still a relatively new way for startups and small businesses to raise capital. While it has become an increasingly popular option in recent years, there are still some common misconceptions about how it works and what investment crowdfunding can offer. “The most common misconceptions we still see are, crowdfunding is an easy way to get funding, crowdfunding is only for startups, you can raise as much money as you want, you can easily sell your shares on the open market, and you don’t need to disclose information to raise money on a crowdfunding platform,” explains Dickinson.
Through FundingHope, Dickinson remains committed to educating the public on the importance of investing locally, in a sustainable manner. “As an industry, we have only just begun to scratch the surface of the incredible potential the market holds for everyday investors to participate in opportunities to build a sustainable future, grow their communities, and create generational wealth for groups who have historically been left behind,” he states.
Advice to Entrepreneurs
Having been associated with various industries over his career, Dickinson has found that there are certain traits that successful entrepreneurs and founders possess. “My advice to someone who wants to be disruptive in their industry is to be passionate about your vision, be resilient, adaptable to change, and keep a customer focus on what is needed in the market.”