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How Crowdfunding Technology Is Solving Homelessness Through Skills Training

In episode 31 of the Disruptors for Good podcast, I speak with Alex Stephany, the founder of Beam, on solving homelessness using crowdfunding and technology.

Beam is a crowdfunding platform that enables new career opportunities for homeless men and women. Beam uses technology and global citizens to help fund skills training and education to homeless individuals. With the Beam platform, you can help someone start a new career and leave homelessness for good.

The platform works like this. Each person on the platform is referred to Beam by an established homeless charity or their local council. They receive a dedicated support specialist – a Beam employee who supports them all the way into their new career! The support specialists conduct basic security checks to make sure the referred person is mentally and physically ready to enter full-time employment. After that they help each person develop a tailored career plan, building on their unique strengths and interests.

Once approved to be on the Beam platform, we as global citizens, can choose to help fund one person’s training or fund everyone equally. You can choose support once or monthly. You’ll get an email introducing you to a new person you’re supporting every month and learn more about their individual story.

The founder of Beam, Alex Stephany, was inspired to build Beam after getting to know a homeless man at his local Tube station in London. The man had spent decades out of work. Alex would buy him cups of coffee and pairs of socks, but could see his condition going from very bad to even worse.When the man had a heart attack, Alex asked himself: “What could we do to make a real difference to that man’s life?” The answer lay in giving him the skills to support himself. Alex knew that’d cost much more than a coffee. But what if everyone chipped in?

Before Beam, Alex ran the parking app, JustPark, which he grew from 2 to over 40 people and still support as a Board Advisor. At JustPark, he had his first experience with crowdfunding when he led a record-breaking equity crowdfunding round – what was the largest crowdfunding round for a startup in history.

He is also the author of a book on the sharing economy called The Business of Sharing, and also advised the city of Seoul as part of the Mayor’s Sharing Economy Advisory Panel.

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