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30 Innovative Brands of the Year 2023

A firm focused on delivering an innovative investment marketplace connecting investors with entrepreneurs contributing to sustainability in disadvantaged communities: FundingHope


A firm focused on delivering an innovative investment marketplace connecting investors with entrepreneurs contributing to sustainability in disadvantaged communities: FundingHope

FundingHope was founded in 2021 by serial entrepreneur Dorian Dickinson and Dr. John Johanson. The main motivation for developing FundingHope was to level the playing field when it comes to how entrepreneurs and small business owners in distressed, at-risk, and rural communities access capital to grow their businesses, employ more local talent, and transform their communities. For the past 15-years, Dickinson has developed rural and urban development programs across America, in developing countries, and in conflict zones. Lack of access to affordable capital remains the most important factor limiting the establishment, expansion, and growth of women- and minority-owned small businesses. In the United States, barely 3% of all venture capital investment goes to these groups.

FundingHope bridges the gap between impact investing and achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goal targets. The FundingHope investment crowdfunding marketplace is the first platform to connect everyday investors with entrepreneurs and small business owners contributing to sustainability in communities often left behind by traditional banks and Wall Street.

In conversation with Dorian Dickinson, Managing Director and Co-Founder of FundingHope

Q. Why do you believe crowdfunding is a game changer in the business world? Is crowdfunding a new business category?

Investment crowdfunding is a game changer for investors and small businesses. It is an exciting alternative investment sector that is disrupting the funding, development, and investment landscapes. Raising capital can be difficult for all small business owners and entrepreneurs, but it is particularly difficult for entrepreneurs located in distressed, at-risk, and rural communities. Entrepreneurs in these communities have a more difficult time raising capital from traditional financiers such as banks and Wall Street. FundingHope is entirely focused on developing entrepreneurship in disadvantaged communities and developing successful entrepreneurs. For retail and accredited investors, we recognize the importance of alternative investments as part of more balanced investment portfolios. The FundingHope platform can be a key avenue to introduce attractive impact investment opportunities to a wider audience. We have already witnessed the enthusiasm which people embrace the FundingHope model that helps grow entrepreneurship where it is needed most to build safer, cleaner, healthier communities.

The investment crowdfunding sector is simple and quick to market. If the crowd likes it, they’ll fund the business, and entrepreneurs get the funding they need to achieve their goals, create more local jobs, and restore hope in their communities. While all investments are risky, FundingHope has created a way for retail investors to invest in sustainable businesses, show potential for positive returns, improve communities, and restore hope for a better future.

Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful CEO?

Empathy, vision, and communication skills are the top three skills that a successful CEO must possess and be able to pay forward to their leadership team and staff. 

First and foremost, a successful CEO must be empathetic. Empathy drives better business outcomes and increases employee motivation. Being able to understand the needs of customers and employees increases engagement and builds strong relationships. An empathetic leader models the leadership skills younger employees need to lead teams, which trains junior team members how to think, act, and speak when interacting with others and setting the company up for long-term growth.

A successful CEO must also have a clear vision of the company’s future to develop a strategic plan and define company goals and ambitions. Company vision is more than a vision statement on the company website; it should be ingrained into the company’s culture and environment. Without a clear vision in place, team members will struggle to know what goals to aim for and what actions they need to take to achieve the company’s customer experience strategy.

A successful CEO must also understand the importance of clear, concise communication. Strong communicators are inspiring leaders who build motivated teams. A strong CEO must be able to use their communication skills with customers and team members to explore ideas and suggestions that drive the company forward.

Q. It’s a job seekers market now. It is harder than ever to attract and hire top talents. How do you identify talented individuals?

We’ve been blessed to be able to attract top talent to the FundingHope team, both as employees and contractors. Also, we have been able to develop key strategic partnerships with globally focused non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international development banks, and key economic development agencies throughout the United States. Our talent and partner acquisition strategy has allowed us to bring a tremendous amount of knowledge to the table during our development process. The experience, knowledge, and entrepreneurial know-how our team has is unmatched in the investment crowdfunding sector and it will help us grow and expand globally.

Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?

FundingHope will launch our US crowdfunding marketplace in January 2023 that will launch a comprehensive referral program to build brand awareness, attract new investors, and grow the number of offerings on the FundingHope marketplace.

Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?

FundingHope’s future is bright. The global crowdfunding market is currently valued at just under $20 billion and is projected to reach a value of $43.48 billion by 2028. In Q2 of 2023, we aim to launch a subsidiary company and platform based in Europe to expand our reach, help more entrepreneurs develop sustainable businesses, and restore hope for a better future across the globe.

Meet the leader behind the success of FundingHope

Dorian Dickinson, Co-Founder of FundingHope began his career in law enforcement before establishing himself as a leader in the development of innovative business strategies for leading retailers and consumer goods companies. For the past 15-years, he has dedicated his career to creating and building economic development activity, sustainability programs, and improved health and sanitation initiatives in rural and economically challenged communities in the US, Mexico, South America, the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Throughout his career, Dickinson has built a proven record of success as a skilled strategist, out-of-the-box innovator and passionate entrepreneur collaborating with governments, companies and internationally recognized organizations in primary, secondary, and tertiary industries.

“FundingHope is revolutionizing how startups and small businesses raise capital and contribute to a safer, cleaner, healthier future in disadvantaged communities normally ignored by traditional banks and Wall Street.”