Crowdfunding takes off in Cuba

Global Business

While some are using the Internet to hack into personal information, others use it to support their dreams. Crowdfunding has reached the island of Cuba. Now the rest of the world can invest in emerging Cuban artists.

CCTV America’s Michelle Begue filed this report from Havana.

Crowdfunding takes off in Cuba

Crowdfunding takes off in Cuba

While some are using the Internet to hack into personal information, others use it to support their dreams. Crowdfunding has reached the island of Cuba. Now the rest of the world can invest in emerging Cuban artists. CCTV America’s Michelle Begue filed this report from Havana.

Cuban rumba beats like “guaguanc” and the Afro-Cuban sounds of the Bat drum mixed in with a little bit of Jazz to makes the eclectic sounds of the Cuban band “Banda Ancha” led by Yissy Garcia. They call the style high-speed Cuban jazz.

“We mixed it with funk, and a little bit of reggae and samba, and we mix all these rhythms together to produce a fun sound,” Yissy Garcia from Banda Ancha said.

27-year old Yissy is a well known percussionist in Cuba. She has worked on various studio albums and has scored a few deals like her partnership with Sabian cymbals, but when it came to putting together her first album, she didn’t want to be signed by a label.

“The idea is we want to own the recording rights, but it is really hard to record an album if you don’t have funds,” she said.

That is how the idea of crowdfunding came along. It’s a way for people to raise money for everything from donations for personal art projects to equity financing for businesses. The goal for Banda Ancha crowdfunding campaign was about $6,000.

During the last five years, the crowdfunding industry has grown to be a worldwide phenomenon. One industry report said in 2013 alone more than $5 billion were crowdfunded online. But for those here in Cuba campaigning on the Internet isn’t easy, since the island has limited bandwidth and a low number of connections.

“We had to constantly move the campaign every hour, and from here that can be complicated. Sometimes we had the issue that we couldn’t find an Internet connection! We would run to hotels, or ask friends for help that could maybe offer us the connection,” Garcia said.

The efforts have paid off. Garcia and “Banda Ancha” surpassed their goal of receiving donations from the United States, Europe and all across Latin America.