Crowd-powered Smart Energy Challenge

4 April 2014

From next week, Wellingtonians can provide online support to help three local smart energy ventures crowdfund their way to reality.

The three successful Smart Energy Challenge participants have spent the last five weeks working through an intensive application process, a programme of workshops, networking events, collaborative smart energy cafes and a Dragons’ Den pitching night.

The successful teams are ‘shyft’ – a cooperative car- share system for the city; ‘Aro Solar’ – smart energy for community centres; and the ‘Solar Space Heater’ to warm Wellington homes.

The three projects are now calling on their supporters and other Wellingtonians who all have a stake in the city’s future, to support them by pledging money to their crowdfunding campaigns and by spreading the word.

Co-founder of Solar Space Heater, Lisa McLaren says: “We really want Wellington to get behind all of the teams and help us achieve our ambitious crowdfunding targets.”

If teams are successful and reach targets they have set in advance, then they will receive the money pledged and Wellington City Council will match-fund whatever amount each project raises, up to a maximum of $20,000 across all three projects.

Wellingtonians can make a donation and watch videos about each of the ventures on PledgeMe – New Zealand’s crowdfunding platform – at pledgeme.co.nz, from Monday 7 April.

At a crowdfunding launch, event teams will also pitch their projects to a diverse crowd of over 100 prominent Wellingtonians including their friends, family, colleagues, representatives from the challenge’s corporate partners, mentors, teachers and experts who have helped implement the challenge.

The challenge is being run by Wellington City Council in collaboration with Enspiral, PledgeMe, Generation Zero and is sponsored by NZ Post. Others supporting the project are Deloitte, Kiwibank, the Sustainability Trust and Greater Wellington Regional Council.

“It’s been great seeing the various parts of the ecosystem come together around the challenge. We’re genuinely nervous but also super excited about the opportunity for people to be part of the next wave of Wellington energy, through crowdfunding,” says Lisa.