Slow Money SoCal Links to Local Investment
by Michelle Greenwood
So, you’re an entrepreneur.
You’re motivated by your mission and the vision for your phenomenally inspiring social enterprise – those of us around you, we’re inspired too!
But you’re frustrated by a lack of funds.
You need licensing fees, maybe some equipment. You’re stymied by the cost for materials and inventory. A web page would be nice, business cards, stationary – all the things you need to run any business, the fact yours is socially responsible and impactful doesn’t make it any less a requirement. But you’re locked into cash flow and credit cards. You’re dolling out the financial resources (often just in time!) to make your business run.
And the banks aren’t lending. Even if they were, your multidimensional bottom line and returns scares them. Too trendy we hear about one of our social enterprises, too specialized about another. You’re a for profit venture, so aside from the fiscal sponsors you are able to attract to your project, you can’t really apply for the grants and the donations your non-profit siblings are lapping up. And really, you don’t want to. Sustainability is your goal.
But what if there are some folks around, a group of them, your neighbors even, that wanted to help you with those financial resources? What if they are really moved by your mission and vision? They like you and like what you are doing. They want to see your store, your restaurant, your service offering in their community. They think in addition to the impact you are making your business might contribute to the feeling and the uniqueness (dare we say terroir?) of their neighborhood. And they’re willing to back you financially! Wouldn’t you want to bring them on as part of your community and your resources?
This is the vision of Slow Money. Slow Money, a national nonprofit started in 2008, works to create a community of entrepreneurs and their neighbors interested in moving some of their money into the local economy. Monthly Gatherings – parties where these folks come together-- create relationships, friendships and a sense of accountability to each other and the values that make for good fund local opportunities. Focused on the special niche of social enterprises comprised of food and food related businesses, Slow Money uses the health of the soil as a guiding principle. (You can see the Slow Money Principles here: http://slowmoneysocal.org/slow-money-principles/). Food is about our health, the health of our families and the health of others in our communities. Food becomes a lens for some of our bigger problems whether social justice and food access or the environment. Slow Money minded folks figure if you get food right, everything else will follow. We have a local network of Slow Money folks here in Southern California. Some of those folks are taking the ideas of a local economy to the next step by working to establish Local Investment Networking Clubs (LINCs). If you’re interested in finding out more about LINC or Slow Money, you can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.[MG3]
Michelle Greenwood serves as Director of Investment Programs for Slow Money SoCal.
She resides in Dana Point, California and can be reached at email@example.com.