CLEMSON — Budding entrepreneurs in Clemson University’s MBA program now can turn to crowdfunding to finance their proposed ventures.

The crowdfunding site, launched by Clemson’s MBA program and the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, is the first one established at a South Carolina college or university.

“Crowdfunding has become a credible source of funding for early-stage companies,” said David Mendez, a Spiro Institute board member and partner with Capital A Partners in Charleston. “Success at this stage for an entrepreneur can lead to other forms of debt or equity financing provided by early-stage investors to accelerate growth and create jobs.”

Crowdfunding has become a popular way to raise money for startup companies. The idea is for many people to make small investments to provide financing to launch the businesses.

The website is the brainchild of the Spiro Institute board and was developed as a way for students from the MBA in Entrepreneurship & Innovation program (MBAe) to generate capital for their ideas. Similar to the crowdfunding site, provides funding for specific projects.

However, the site is hosted by a third-party provider and all of the funds raised go directly to the person seeking support. Clemson University does not receive any funding from the site and it is not affiliated with any university giving program.

“We want to do everything we can to help our entrepreneurship students succeed, and is a natural outgrowth of that effort,” said Gregory M. Pickett, associate dean of the College of Business and Behavioral Science, executive director of the Spiro Institute and director of the MBA program.

“This is the first crowdfunding platform established by an institute of higher learning in South Carolina and is an innovative way for students to raise seed capital. In time the site will expand and become an asset for the entire Clemson family to showcase work being done at the University and by alumni,” he said.

The website now has five proposals from students in the MBAe program. Currently, the site is limited to proposals from Clemson MBAe students, but in time it will grow to include projects from Clemson faculty, staff, students and alumni across all disciplines.