StartingBloc Returns to Boston in 2014

StartingBlocStartingBloc — a Launcht partner organization which equips aspiring social entrepreneurs with the tools to create change in the world — recently returned to Boston for a five-day institute, one of five that they will host in 2014.

“Boston has been one of our key cities for years,” said StartingBloc CEO Cesar Gonzalez. “Coming back to Boston was a no-brainer. We have a really big community there of people in the space and fellows.”

StartingBloc institutes feature programming designed to give fellows the tangible skills that they will need to start their own organizations, while simultaneously giving them access to a network of fellows that is committed to positive social change.

“Those are the two main parts: what you need to get up out of the chair and go, and what’s going to sustain you on the path of working on shit that matters,” said Gonzalez. “The community tells you that they believe you can start this company, even though now it’s only an idea.”

StartingBloc partnered with Launcht to create a platform for fellows to crowdfund their tuition for each five-day institute. The platform makes StartingBloc’s programming accessible to everyone, while also providing a venue for fellows to sharpen their marketing skills as they spread the word about their crowdfunding campaigns.

In past years, about a third of inbound fellows have used the Launcht platform to crowdfund their tuition.

“We couldn’t do it without crowdfunding,” said Gonzalez. “On the organizational side, it’s great because hundreds more people than are attending learn about StartingBloc through the platform.”

At the Boston institute — the city’s first since 2012 — StartingBloc was able to use crowdfunding not only as a funding source, but as a beacon to spread the word about the organization and its broader social goals.

“What we deliver for $1,000, I think, is hard to come by,” said Gonzalez. “And yet the real outcome that matters is in terms of people’s minds and the communities that they build.”

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