What if we could band together with our civic ideas, build and pitch them entrepreneur-style, and then implement them?
Meet civicside, doing just that — and more. We sat down with Butch Roussel, one of the organizers, to learn more.
“civicside is a community crowdfunding website that allows citizens in communities to pursue ‘civic minded’ ideas they care about.” Want to make a change to your community, and go about it in a truly entrepreneurial way — pitching, building, funding and all? You can do it! It’s a fascinating idea to motivate citizens to become more active in their community.
Butch says that they’re pivoting into what they call the “24 Hour Citizen Project.” “It can best be coined as a Shark Tank for community ideas,” says Butch.
He goes on to say, “People (generally) don’t take ownership in our public spaces. If they did, communities would be as functional as our homes and clean as our own backyards. We wanted to send an obvious message to people that they can change and control the shared spaces around them.”
Change is the name of the game. As we all know, change is an inevitable part of life — sometimes it’s welcome, and sometimes, it doesn’t go as planned. Butch tells us that he’s had his fair share of failures along his journey.
“Our biggest failure has been our inability to instill our message with a wider audience outside of the citizens who are already engaged. In other words, how do we make the pursuit of community ideas ‘sexy’ and ‘cool?'” The group has faced a big challenge with this, but like great entrepreneurs, they keep moving forward. They already know what success looks like.
Our greatest success is a compilation of 10 successful projects totaling $50,000 in crowdfunding dollars that proved citizen-lead civic projects can be successful. Our vision is to introduce the concept “open source communities” or ‘wiki cities,’ where self directed participants (i.e., citizens) can create change. We will do this through the 24 Hour Citizen Project. An event that brings together all of the resources to make projects happen in a place. Cities are relying more on the creative and entrepreneurial capacities of people. We’ll be the platform for those relationships to build, and for other communities to follow.”
Well-said, Butch! If you would like to take part in the next generation of community involvement mixed with an entrepreneurial style, check out the civicside website.