Whilst I have always had more than a passing interest in micronations founding YPT, opening bars and other projects kinda got in the way of my Micronational obsession. As John Lennon said “life is what happens when you’re busy doing other things”. But you cannot keep a good micronationalist down. And last year, I started to write about and explore the subject matter again. With my articles on “what is a micronation”, “micronations”, and “how to build a country in 10 easy steps” being without doubt literary classics to befit Al Gore’s internet.
Lets Buy An Island
So, starting my own country and buying an island were not actually new ideas of mine. In fact, I’d owned the domain www.letsbuyanisland.com for 10 years. With my initial idea being for thousands of investors to pay $50 or so each. And then club together, buy island, and run said nation. Alas at this juncture, I kinda had my work cut out with Young Pioneer Tours. And in all honesty didn’t have the skills or support to make this project work. But the idea never left me…..
Ten years is a long time in any industry. But for YPT, it seemed to have aged me like a fine wine. Men indeed are trees. And over this time I had not only learnt more but I had met a lot of people. One of the people that I had met literally owned island in Palawan. One we would rent out every now and again. Towards the end of last year, I contacted him about renting his island, only to find out it was for sale. My spidy senses started to tingle.
Hearing the island was for sale, I put the word out through Facebook. To find no surprises in that lots of people thought that buying an island would be a damned good idea. Alas buying the island in The Philippines was not particularly practical. But as a group, we decided to purchase an island somewhere if we could not get that island.
I then spent the next month working on the practicalities about how to crowdfund buying an island. How much could we charge? How many members would we look for? It was decided that $3250 (with a ten percent deposit) over 120 people would raise about $400k, enough to purchase and do up our very own island. Essentially an amount of money people could afford without breaking the bank, and an amount of people (120), which was big enough to keep it interesting, but no so big it would put people off. And after almost no-time we had 30 paid up investors.
Was it Mao that said you cannot make an omelet without breaking some eggs? We decided that we would keep our nation building a lot less violent, and most importantly make it a democratic project. Within a fast few weeks we had a country name, an elected Prime-Minister, and a flag, we were to be the Principality of Islandia. We already make our own country!
The corporate stuff
So, making your own country something democratic is fun, but you also have to deal with pesky “real” governments. As well as one of the core parts of this project, to run a profit-making enterprise. We manifested this into a Cayman Islands registered company known as IBG Inc. led by myself as CEO, and run by corporate law.
Any my role?
My aim when I first started this project was to have something, big, bad, democratic, and much bigger than me. I intend to lead this project for the first two years, before handing it over to someone equally or better qualified, and knowing me head onto something else. Oh, and to pre-empt media! This is nothing to do with YPT other than sharing some of the same members. I’m an entrepreneur, what can I say?
Where do you stand today?
The project is still less than 10 months old from its official start, and under a year old from its unofficial start (excluding the 10 years ago bit), and we are already on 74/120 required investors. In short, we’re in good shape, particularly when you factor in that most members are friends and friends of friends. Essentially, we’re not even public yet, and when are this will move quickly!
How do I get involved?
If you want to get involved with us the best way is obviously to buy a share of the island (which you can do via this link), or if you don’t happen to have $3k plus lying around your sky rocket, then we offer citizenship for $12 (again follow that link).
So, yes crowdfunding buying an island to run as a micronation might not be the most “normal” thing you can do, but if you really think about it, if nothing else at worst, this is the world’s coolest timeshare!
Check us out at Lets Buy An Island
Gareth Johnson, CEO, IBG Inc