GUEST POST: Micro grants an innovative funding model for community startups in Ottawa

It’s funny how stuff happens, right? On Jan. 20 I attended a Citizens Academy (now Synapcity ) alumni event showcasing three organizations doing micro granting in the city. Soon after I ended up attending my first Soup Ottawa event with the new Executive Director of KidsUpFront Ottawa .

A few weeks ago, I had only heard of Just Change in that space since I knew some of the co-founders. Now I find out it’s an epidemic? Awesome!

Speaking of awesome, Awesome Ottawa has a similar mandate and has been around the longest. They’ve given out almost $100k so far to individuals and groups doing important stuff in the capital. How awesome is that?

For those who don’t know, micro-granting is all the rage these days. There’s a good reason for that since the money goes to impactful projects that need a nudge. It’s great since there’s usually no strings attached with the money, it’s left up to the grant recipients to use as they see fit. This is big in the not-for-profit (NFP) world since a lot of grants have strings, conditions and reporting requirements.

These events are also an incredible opportunity for local charities, NFP’s and social enterprises to get exposure. Winning one of these micro grants obviously brings an influx of cash but more importantly is the connections and goodwill you build with the community, which has been invaluable to these worthy causes.

We do something similar at Amazing People, where we’ve given scholarship to close to 20 local youth with proceeds from our first three galas. The response and the ripple effects have been unbelievable, where a recipient that went with me on my first school build in Nicaragua recently won a volunteer award for his work since his trip. Simply amazing!

There’s also a lot of pure cool crowdfunding going around the city with everything from new technology to on-the-go coffee apparatus. There’s also innovative stuff coming out of the Centre for Social Enterprise Development . So many options out there for locals trying to make a difference while making dollars along the way!

I joked recently while MC’ing the event for the bid for the 2021 Canada Games that we’re now  becoming Ottawa the bold, not Ottawa of the old. All kidding aside, it’s true with so many cool things happening these days around the region, from cool outdoor activities to tech startups and local art projects.

We live in a cool time boys and girls, especially in the National Capital region. It’s getting easier and easier to get involved in many projects to make an impact in our community. So get out there and do it, especially in 2017 .

So what are you going to get involved in this year? ** _ Eric Collard is the managing partner at _ _ Ottawa Media Group _ _ and the co-founder of the _ _ Amazing People _ _ movement. _ ** _ welcomes your letters. E-mail to _