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Spark: A space for social innovators to combine ideas with networks - Chris Blauvelt, Patronicity

Spark Workshop with Chris Blauvelt, Patronicity

Moderated by Rachel Jacobs '02, Inzenka


Patronicity is a localized crowdfunding platform that enables anybody to make a difference in their community by supporting local businesses, organizations & events, while simultaneously offering them incentives to do so. We accomplish this by helping these local entities – for example a small business – raise small amounts of capital through online donations for specific growth-related projects. In return for their support, the business offers value-adding rewards to the donors. In this way, we create a series of win-win situations – the business wins because it is able to raise money to grow, the donors win because they receive a valuable incentive for their support, and the community wins because businesses are thriving and patrons are walking the streets.

The platform is currently in beta:

Immediate innovation needs:
Patronicity allows projects to be sponsored by businesses groups or foundations. Sponsors can offer to match raised funds or help with the promotion of projects by reaching out to their network. Patronicity needs a clear strategy to grow the number of participating sponsors.

Patronicity is looking for advice on how to:
  · Grow their sponsors
  · Create a fun, exciting and addictive culture that supports local businesses
  · Reach sponsors and individuals in a meaningful way
  · Differentiate itself by the culture it creates online (and offline)

Additional Points:
  · Patronicity curates each project – this is currently not advertised well.
  · The average donation is about $50. The most common donation is about $25

Key Competitors:

About the Founder: Chris Blauvelt
Chris is a Detroit-based entrepreneur with a passion for helping others. He started Patronicity to support local projects that needed funds but were unsure where to turn. Prior to founding Patronicity, Chris was an Executive Producer at Beyond Blue Productions and Director of Finance and Operations at the Fawakih Institute. He lives with his wife in Midtown Detroit, where he enjoys urban gardening and shooting jump shots in his spare time. Chris has a BS in Engineering and an MA in Educational Administration and Policy from the University of Michigan.

Patronicity was nominated to participate in Spark by Detroit Nation. Detroit Nation, in support of some of Detroit's up and coming social enterprises, works with entrepreneurs who are not only improving the city by adding to its economic bottom line but have an environmental, civic or other community enhancing focus to help make Detroit a better place.


Spark provides Social Innovators with an opportunity to explore resources, connections and potential solutions to help their social ventures, by tapping the collective knowledge within Columbia University, and the larger entrepreneurial and social impact community in the New York area and beyond.

This workshop is open to all who are willing to bring their ideas, experience, and connections to help solve social and environmental challenges that these social innovators aim to address.


If you are unable to attend the above events but would like more information on Spark, please register for our mailing list.

For more information, or if you would like to suggest a future Spark workshop, please contact:
Diana Rambeau:

This event is supported by the Social Enterprise Program, the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center and the Social Enterprise Club at Columbia Business School.

June 25th, 2013 from  6:00 PM to  7:30 PM
Columbia Business School
United States
Phone: 212-854-2176