Pulling a crowd 號召群眾

A crowd
Image caption Can you get a crowd of people excited by your business idea?

Vocabulary: business 詞匯: 商業

Have you got a good idea you could turn into a business? Not much cash to get off the ground? In many countries that's when people turn to crowdfunding. This is a method of raising finance online by asking a large number of people each to chip in.

This is becoming increasingly popular with entrepreneurs and the public. In Scotland, for example, crowdfunding has helped a wide range of businesses.

Simon Collier, a trained cocktail bartender, generated £20,000 to help him buy a pub in Thurso. Family, local people and businesses were among those who gave him money.

The initial process was tough, but once he had made a pitch, the venture generated great interest. Mr Collier said: "We first opened with a couple of tables and chairs. That was pretty much all we had." Now he has added designer stools, a pool table and a wall-mounted flat screen TV.

According to the UK Crowd Funding Association, the world's first online crowdfunded project was believed to have involved British rock band Marillion. In 1997, the group was struggling to afford a US tour and asked fans to help pay for it.

Now, the process involves thousands of groups and individuals and millions of pounds. In a new report, the Crowdfunding Centre has quoted statistics that suggest a new project is created somewhere in the world every three minutes.

One of these is the musical The Pajama Game, which opened in London's West End after having raised more than £200,000 through a crowdfunding scheme. It allowed people to invest anything from £10 to £25,000.

But theatre industry expert Terri Paddock points out crowdfunding doesn't always work. "It's the same type of risk that any producer has when putting together the project to begin with," she says. "Never forget that only three in ten shows recoup on average."

Crowdfunding might be something new but old-school business rules apply. A good idea has to go hand in hand with a sound business plan and reputable investors or you might find yourself going back to the drawing board.