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Nashville Entrepreneurs Turning To Crowdfunding For Start-Up Money

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by Jason Lamb

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – This week, a new survey listed Nashville as one of the best cities in the country for small businesses, but starting a business from scratch is still a big challenge.

As start-up money from big investors becomes scarce, business experts said more and more people are turning to the web to attract investors from all over the world. It’s a concept called crowdfunding -- asking a lot of people online to contribute a little money through a website that showcases their idea.

Jessica Hearthcock is a Nashville entrepreneur who wants to start “Utilize Health,” an online business linking patients struggling with neurological injuries with places to get treated. While she said she’s seeking money from traditional investors, in the past three days she started a crowdfunding campaign on the website

In that short time, she’s been able to raise more than $20,000 for her idea, with more contributions coming in by the hour.

The head of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center said more and more people are using crowdfunding through websites like IndieGoGo to raise money because it gives everyone a chance to invest in an idea, not just those with deep pockets.

“If you really believe in the concept and you see it working in your town, it's kind of nice to be a part of something you think is making a difference,” said Michael Burcham, CEO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

Jessica's start-up is a finalist in a business pitch competition run by AOL co-founder Steve Case that's going to be held in Nashville on Friday.

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