A Locavesting Pow-Wow For Entrepreneurs And Funders

By: Anne Field - Mar 04, 2015
Source: Forbes

There’s a burgeoning movement in the U.S. that’s all about strengthening communities by investing in local businesses. It’s called locavesting, a term coined by author Amy Cortese.

This evening, a conference is slated to be held in Seattle, aimed at furthering locavesting in the region. Called Building Main Street: Money on a Mission, the goal is to introduce entrepreneurs to local lenders, as well as to each other. “Local businesses may not self-identify as social enterprises, but they’re providing real value to their neighborhoods and communities,” says Rachel Maxwell, a co-founder of Community Sourced Capital, which has a platform for linking small businesses with local funders–I wrote about it here–and is a co-organizer of the event, along with Beneficial State Bank and the Main Street Alliance.

The event will include tables staffed by 15 local lenders, as well as breakout sessions in which a panel of small business owners who have received funding can share their stories. About 200 people in sectors ranging from hospitality to retail have signed up to attend. They’re also at a variety of phases of maturation, from pre-revenue to growth stage. A significant portion aren’t looking for money, but want to know what opportunities are out there. Most of the others are seeking $100,000 or less in capital.

One entrepreneur who will speak at the event is Tiffany Turner. With her husband, she runs two hotels and a restaurant in Long Beach, Wash. They started Inn at Discovery Coast, the first hotel, in 2004, and Adrift Hotel, the second, six years later. She also is a veteran of locavesting, raising $40,000 through Community Sourced Capital in two loans and a $350,00 loan from Craft3, a Community Development Financial Institution in Ilwaco, Wash., to name just a few sources.  They have another hotel in the works now.

“We want to tell our story and encourage people to listen to all these different organizations that are trying to change the world of finance,” she says. “They’re talking about a more sustainable economy for small businesses.”

A similar event was held in Portland, Ore., recently.