Joe Nocera’s column today, “We Can All Become Job Creators”, is must read:
Starbucks is going to create a mechanism that will allow us citizens to do what the government and the banks won’t: lend money to small businesses. This mechanism is scheduled to be rolled out on Nov. 1.
And here’s how it will work –
Here’s the idea they came up with: Americans themselves would start lending to small businesses, with Starbucks serving as the middleman. Starbucks would find financial institutions willing to loan to small businesses. Starbucks customers would be able to donate money to the effort when they bought their coffee. Those who gave $5 or more would get a red-white-and-blue wristband, which Schultz labeled “Indivisible.” “We are hoping it will bring back pride in the American dream,” he says. The tag line will read: “Americans Helping Americans.”
I’ll admit, that the first thought that came to mind was how much this seemed like Kickstarter, and that it is nice to see both Kickstarter and Starbucks embracing a more distributed model. Both companies seem to understand that good things will come from putting money into the hands of idea generators, entrepreneurs and small businesses.
It makes me wonder, if more businesses models like Kickstarter emerge on the scene, does Kickstarter get pigeonholed into being the place where artists and film makers go to get funded – or – is it possible for Kickstarter to broaden their image in a way that doesn’t hurt the existing community.