Scheinfeld Center presents panel, how to jumpstart a business

David Fletcher, Staff Writer

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The Scheinfeld Center hosted a panel of Santa Barbara business owners Friday in honor of global crowdfund week, to discuss how young entrepreneurs can use platforms such as Kickstart to turn their dreams into reality. 

The speakers all had extensive experience in the world of crowdfunding and shared their knowledge on the subject with those attending.

The keynote speaker was Timothy Dir, CEO of the company Rad Sourcing, which provides the companies with specialized solutions for manufacturing needs. 

He also serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the Santa Barbara startup Go Chair and helped it secure $1.5 million on the crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo to launch its product. 

The event was put on by Julie Sampson, executive director of the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. 

“What’s great about this event is that it showed how crowdfunding cuts across demographics with over 600 platforms now available,” Sampson said. 

One of the panel members was former NFL tight end, Nate Lawrie.

After retiring, he invented a portable workout accessory called the Brazyn Life Foam Roller which he received a $250,000 investment for on the TV show Shark Tank. 

Prior to his product making its debut, he utilized Kickstarter to gauge the public’s interest. He suggests others do the same when trying to launch a product. 

“Make sure you research a lot and put effort into your product and marketing before your launch, and then just go for it,” Lawrie told the Channels. 

The panel identified many of the different steps that go into engineering a successful crowdfunding campaign. 

The speakers stressed that the products that go to market are usually the ones with extensive social media marketing on other platforms.

Everybody on the stage acknowledged that most startups, that pursue crowdfunding, aren’t successful. In fact, only one of every 10 will make it to market. 

However, they all agreed that putting yourself out there and keeping in touch with your audience is the key to success. 

“For every troll out there’s a bunch of great people who will support you if you communicate with them,” Dir said. 

After the event, Sampson said she wants students who want to start a crowdfunding campaign for a product shouldn’t hesitate to take advantage of the resources available at the Scheinfeld Center. 

“We don’t need any more delays with people’s great ideas,” she said. “We can stand on each other’s shoulders as we go and hopefully make the world a better place.”

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