A Laramie-based business has been awarded at the Global Crowdfunding Convention in Las Vegas for its contributions to the crowdfunding industry.

The Local Crowd is a community-focused crowd funding business founded in 2012 by Diane Wolverton and Kim Vincent.

Wolverton said she was the state director of the Wyoming Small Business Development Center for many years and was motivated to found The Local Crowd after hearing many businesses and entrepreneurs talk about how capital was hard to find in rural areas.

“When crowdfunding started to come on the scene, I just knew there must be a way this could be used for rural businesses,” Wolverton said. “So I started to investigate that and invited Kim who also worked in economic development and also was the owner of her own businesses.”

Together, Wolverton said, they mapped out a way to bring crowdfunding to communities and their local businesses. Wolverton said The Local Crowd is different from other crowdfunding platforms because it offers ‘hyper-local’ features that won’t be found on a large crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter.

Wolverton cited one example where the local community wanted to help a business that needed to take out carpeting and install hardwood floors so that it could add a coffee-shop. Many community members wanted to help in ways other than monetary donations, such as such as moving out furniture or helping to install the floors.

“That can’t be done on another platform, but it can be done on The Local Crowd,” Wolverton said. “Electricians can offer their services . . . there’s just a bunch of ways.”

Wolverton said another way The Local Crowd is different from larger crowdfunding platforms is that it is community-hosted.

“The Local Crowd Laramie kind of becomes Laramie’s own platform – and then we have this in 13 states, this platform is in different communities,” she said. “So anybody in Laramie could start a crowdfunding campaign and it would be on The Local Crowd, Laramie.”

Wolverton said once someone submitted their idea, The Local Crowd team would then reach out to them and provide support to help the idea be successful.

The Local Crowd was awarded a Crowdfundie Award at the recent Global Crowdfunding Convention in Las Vegas. Wolverton said The Local Crowd was happy to receive the award and said she and Vincent know that the award goes out to all The Local Crowd communities across the country.

“We are really excited that the work of everybody has been recognized by this,” Wolverton said. “And the intent of the award was really to recognize our contribution and the innovation of what we are doing in the industry.”

The Local Crowd is a University of Wyoming Small Business Innovation Research-supported company.