Throughout the Reformation Year 2017, this site offers trendsetters and thought leaders a place to present their notions of change and innovation. What are the potentials and needs for current and future-oriented “reformations”?
At its heart, the Reformation rebalanced power: decreasing the power and wealth of an anointed few for the benefit of all.
Martin Luther believed knowledge was power, so he translated the Bible so everyone could understand it. He also disagreed with the belief that people could pay to forgive their sins.
In 2017, we stand at the cusp of a new reformation. In OECD countries inequality is at its highest level in the past 50 years. The top 10% earn nine times more than the poorest 10%. Even in emerging countries, where growth has brought millions out of poverty, the gap is five times larger than the OECD. Economic growth is predominantly serving the wealthiest, and the wealthiest are benefitting the most from our current financial systems.
We believe it’s time for that to change.
We believe at its heart, finance should serve its communities, not just the wealthy few. That’s where crowdfunding comes in. Instead of an anointed few deciding who and what is funded, the community decides. This means, who is funding and who is getting funded is changing. In venture capital, only 7% of funding goes to companies with female founders, 0.5% to female CEO’s. In crowdfunding we're seeing over 40% of funding is going to companies with female founders, and 30% to female CEO’s.
There has also been a growing trend of social enterprises crowdfunding, offering not just a potential financial return but a social benefit as well. The companies provide information that is purposefully simple, so everyone can understand it.
We hope that the world of finance will support this change, remembering what our ancestors in the 1500’s learned: that money does not forgive your sins.
Anna Guenther is the co-founder and Chief Bubble Blower of PledgeMe, New Zealand's first crowdfunding platform. Since launching 5 years ago, over 1,000 creative, community and entrepreneurial projects have raised over $15million through PledgeMe. Anna has also worked for the New Zealand Government, MIT and Harvard, and completed her Masters in Entrepreneurship with a focus on crowdfunding.