As part of the JumpStart America initiative, we've been learning about the needs and opportunities of other entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country. One such region, Baton Rouge, should not only be acknowledged as the capital of Louisiana, home of Mardi Gras and birthplace of American Idol judge Randy Jackson (important to know)—it should be recognized for its vibrant entrepreneurial culture.
There are cool entrepreneurial projects and programs sprouting up all over the Capital Region. One that's particularly exciting is the 225 Fund. The 225 Fund distributes a monthly $1000 grant to the creators of crazy/creative/cool projects . . . no strings attached. The Fund is run and financed by a small group of founders who review every application before voting each month on which project to put their money behind.
The 225 Fund's number one goal is to "help promote change and innovation in their community"—a pretty noble cause indeed. Their tagline pretty much sums it up: "Because crazy ideas need money too." Applicants must be located in Louisiana, and of course, have a compelling idea or project. Dud ideas need not apply. That's about it. Even the application is easy.
The best part? Project winners can receive the grant as cash, check or Ruby Tuesday gift cards. I'll take the unlimited salad bar, please. Hold the chocolate pudding.
It doesn't always require a complicated plan or millions of dollars to make a difference. Comprehensive regional solutions are important, but they require time, money and collaboration. Smaller investments that achieve smaller successes along the way can elicit creativity and inspire competition while keeping the ball rolling. That's the beauty of the 225 Fund—it takes action now.
The 225 Fund is one of those initiatives meant to be admired. Don't overanalyze it. The Fund is meant to stimulate creativity, so just enjoy it for its simplicity and the craziness it supports. Can't we all benefit from a bit more crazy?
As engagement and communications manager for JumpStart, Kate pairs her marketing expertise with her interest in supporting JumpStart's engagement work in communities across the country. Prior to JumpStart, Kate worked at Vitamix in Cleveland where she was sales and marketing assistant in the Direct Household Division.