LANSING (WWJ) — The folks behind the Lansing area’s economic development organization, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), are betting that people want to support local startup businesses in their community.

LEAP has launched a new program called Fund Lansing, aimed to assist companies and individuals in greater Lansing who are raising investment through web-based crowdfunding platforms. The web service is free to join and serves as a way for local companies to easily promote their fundraising efforts to local investors.

Crowdfunding is a web-based business fundraising effort in which companies seek a large number of small donations — usually in exchange for a trinket, a product before it is available to the public, and in some cases equity in the startup company. There are many well-known crowd funding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The objective of Fund Lansing is to cross promote a local company’s fundraising activity using these portals so local investors can easily support them.

“Over the past year, we have noticed an increasing trend of local companies using crowdfunding to raise early stage capital,” said Ken Szymusiak, co-director of the new economy division at LEAP. “LEAP’s objective is to promote the capital raising efforts of these companies by collecting the active crowd funding campaigns they are using in a central location, so local residents and investors can easily find them. Simply put, we want to connect local companies with local capital.”

Added LEAP president and CEO Bob Trezise: “Fund Lansing is another LEAP initiative that continues our strategic efforts to create one of the nation’s most vibrant entrepreneurial cultures. It’s ultimately about changing a generation if not faster.” is live and accepting registration from both interested companies and potential investors. Find out more at

LEAP is a coalition of area leaders committed to building a prosperous and vibrant region where business can thrive. To do this, we help entrepreneurs start new businesses, help existing businesses grow, and attract new businesses to the region. For more information about LEAP, please visit


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