It is a concept that has raised more than $120,000 to help kick-start new ideas, projects and businesses in Detroit. And now the international crowdfunding phenomenon SOUP is coming to Huddersfield.
Spearheaded by Brent Woods, Chief Executive of The Media Centre, Huddersfield SOUP will bring people from the community together to raise micro-investments that, collectively, will get exciting new projects off the ground.
The SOUP events started to sweep through the UK last year following the success they generated in the USA. The premise is simple – attendees each pay a small donation in return for a bowl of soup and the chance to hear four local people pitch their four minute presentations. There’s then time for questions before each audience member votes for their favourite pitch.
The winning idea will take home the money raised that evening and use it to fund their plans, with the promise they return three months later to report on their progress. Anyone from the area can apply.
With the first Huddersfield SOUP set to take place at The Media Centre’s Café Ollo this autumn, Brent explains what’s next for this local crowdfunding venture: “We will be announcing an open call for proposals in September so we’re encouraging everyone to follow our Facebook page, Twitter feed and join our email list to be notified when submissions are open.
“We’ll also be assembling a team of judges who will sift through the long-list of proposals before selecting the four that will pitch on the night.
“Then the decision is in the audience’s hands at every quarterly event thereafter.”
Commenting on the reason behind the launch, Brent added: “Huddersfield is home to so much talent and innovation, but many ideas lie untapped because people haven’t had the opportunity to showcase their potential. Sometimes it comes down to funding; in other instances it’s about being connected to the people who can help you grow.
“Collectively, people from the town and surrounding areas have the power to bring these ideas to life. I hope Huddersfield gets behind its SOUP.”
Successful SOUPs have already been launched from Brighton to Glasgow, but Brent is collaborating with with Sheffield SOUP to help build a more coordinated network of events across the country.