As the U.S. jobs market continues its slow, not-very-impressive-but-nonetheless-forward march, one area of the economy still lags. Banks have only very recently begun to lend. Both individuals and small businesses have faced tight credit standards enforced by risk-averse banks; mortgages have been hard to obtain, and small business credit has been tighter yet. From 2008 to 2011, loans to small businesses fell 20 percent. The net effect has been to mute an already muted recovery.
The big business of sports may have a new challenger. Endorsement deals, giant salaries, big name sponsorships — this is what we’ve come to expect when we watch our favorite teams compete at their huge stadiums broadcast on major television networks. But what about the lesser-known, lesser-viewed sports? And the athletes who don’t have broad appeal and access to these sorts of lucrative deals? How do they support their athletic hopes?
The crowdsourcing site Kickstarter just turned three years old, and the New York Times has a nice profile that explores how the company has evolved and how its changed the way entrepreneurs, artists, and anyone else with an idea can raise capital online.