Georg Fankhauser has spent much of his career as a Mergers and Acquisitions Consultant, successfully overseeing more than 80 company sales and acquisition projects in Switzerland, Germany and France. Since October 2016 he has also been co-founder and manager of KOSOVA ideas, a crowdfunding initiative to generate support for projects that will make Kosovo a better place to live. We caught up with Georg and asked him to explain more about his new venture.
Can you please tell us about your new project?
www.kosovaideas.com is the first crowdfunding platform that is 100% committed to projects in all fields of art and culture, civic engagement and sustainability realized in and for Kosovo. It connects project owners with relevant communities in and outside Kosovo.
Why Kosova Ideas, how did it get started and who is involved?
In a post-communism and post-conflict country like Kosovo not only houses and infrastructure were damaged but also the sense of a community, the self-confidence and ability to cooperate and act in solidarity. Thus civil society as such has suffered severely, and still does within the political and economic situation of this youngest state in Europe. Although many international programs, NGOs and the diaspora sending money back home wanted to help, the flow of money also spoiled the people, killed many initiatives and supported a self-consciousness of being a victim rather than an actor.
On kosovaideas.com local initiatives can present their project to a global crowd at the same time as to their neighbours, community, supporting NGOs, grant foundations and support programs to get funding.
The three founders, myself, Vllaznim Xhiha and Mentor Sahiti created and financed the platform and act as manager, curator and also directly or through our foundations, network and partner as backers and coach.
How does it work?
kosovaideas.com connects project owners with their community in and outside Kosovo. You can at the same time present your project worldwide and also get funding from backers within your neighborhood, your specific community, your relatives and friends near and abroad, the diaspora and fans of your project yet unknown to you all over the world.
Potential backers, wherever they are, can discover and select projects and back their favourite ones online via their credit card with the amount they choose.
You’ve got seven projects based in three categories of Arts & Culture, Civic Engagement and Sustainability. Can you tell us why you started with these three categories, and what are the plans to expand with other categories?
Under these three main categories there are at present 17 second level categories like sports, gender issues or nature and environment. The list can be expanded but we will not extend into crowd lending, equity funding, reward based donations or pure charity either, but stick to non-commercial projects relevant for our society to make Kosovo a better place to live.
You’ve been an inspiration for many people not just in Kosovo but outside as well. If you could do something different from the day you started your mission what would it be?
We just started a little over 30 days ago and had a good start, our assumptions have so far been confirmed but for sure we will learn in the months to come what to change and improve.
Pablo Picasso once said “inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” What is your message or piece of advice to people who would like to follow your footsteps?
My advice is make sure you and your team know why you are doing it, then learn from others including maybe from us and then also from your own errors. We believe this will bring the success you deserve.
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