Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Smashing the gates: socializing fundraising skills

I want to do something along the lines of Providing skills, not just finished technologies.

I live in a developed country, Italy, with a vast lagging area called Mezzogiorno. While by no means destitute (about 50 billion euro are funneled yearly towards it from the more developed northern Italy to) Mezzogiorno has an autonomy problem. Maintaining private expenditure levels in the area depends on transfers coming from outside, steered by public decision maker, often local politicians. Way too many people and companies compete by trying to be buddies with these decision makers, who use their discretionality to favour people who favour them. Criminal organizations (Mafia, camorra, 'ndrangheta, Sacra Corona Unita) get a sizable chunk of those transfer, typically by infiltrating construction companies.

My goal is to empower young creative people to do their own fundraising for whatever it is they want to achieve.

Why creatives? They tend to be young and idealistic. They are very far removed from political and economic power. Therefore, in general they will see trying to game the system for personal advantages as repugnant and unviable. Since they have no real option besides emigration, they will be motivated to invest time in learning how to make themselves independent.

Why fundraising? A surprising number of people have vision, courage, organizational skills. These guys (and yes, girls too) looked at their village in Calabria - 600 inhabitants at 1000 m above sea level, separated by a main road by 42 kms of mountain roads - and saw a brilliant place for an immersive experience of traditional music, rather than a marginal community doomed to extinction.

And this is just an example. There's more where this comes from.

The problem is, most of these people do not really get business. They do not how to make their case to an investor, or a lender. Accessing credit to get something going is just not in their book. So, funding becomes a chokepoint that perpetuates an unfair and inefficient system. It must be removed

So what am I going to about it? I am going to try to change the narrative. They frame their territories as great platform to do crazy creative stuff rather than marginal communities: I am goin to frame them as greatly powerful assets for Mezzogiorno, and try to convince everyone that they are the asset we should invest on. By everyone I mean private foundations, banks, and other funding agencies outside the area (to get rid of the "seller's market" effect within Mezzogiorno). This can be done by some kind of marketing, leveraging the creativity rhetoric. On the other side, creative people must learn how to make their case in writing, with clear plans and reasoned out figures; and in speech, with inspiring presentations. This can be done through some kind of training. This can in part be provided from my project, but for the most part should occur through peer-to-peer, getting creative people from lagging areas in the same safe space as creative people from developed area. Creatives everywhere share an ethos; they have similar problems, varying in degree but not so much in kind; and everybody can always learn something from someone else.

Italy has a reasonably good telecommunication infrastructure, though broadband is a problem in the mountains and some of the worst backwater. So a lot of this can be done at a very low cost, setting up an online community that exploits existing platforms, like Ning, Elgg or Buddypress.

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