As reported by Beth Gehred.
Successful outreach and Meetup event in October; a pilot investment fund in the works; partnership formed with a CDFI starting the first quarter of 2013.
In October, 85 people gathered at Water House Bistro in Lake Mills, Wis., midway between Wisconsin’s two largest cities, Madison and Milwaukee, and got caught up with what the Slow Money Wisconsin steering committee has been doing. Grant Abert, a founding member of Slow Money and driving force of this Wisconsin chapter, filled people in on our progress in starting a dedicated investment fund and establishing a website and a Facebook presence, and invited people to join Friends of Slow Money Wisconsin.
We also heard from other organizations in the state with similar missions, providing an opportunity to share challenges and successes and seek shared ground. Groups such as Fund Milwaukee, Forward Community Investments, central Wisconsin’s Slow Money Group, Sustainable Edible Economic Development (SEED), Bucketworks, Local Investing Opportunities Network (LION) and others were represented. Entrepreneurs shared stories of their adventures raising capital, some with happy endings and some with cliffhangers, and the opportunities they hope to take advantage of in the future.
A half-dozen of the farmers who’d provided the food for our delicious appetizers were there to introduce themselves and receive applause of gratitude. Ideas for future events were lobbied by the crowd, including a meeting where experienced financiers can “get wonky” on equity investment strategies; more on crowd funding regulations and examples; and more on the right questions to ask before starting an investment club.
As reported by Lisa Daris.
Chapter started in January 2012; more than $170,000 in loans facilitated; $350,000 in loans catalyzed prior to forming.
The Ohio Slow Money Chapter facilitated two group loans in April. The first one was for $9,000 to Lucky Penny Candy, a subsidiary of Lucky Penny Farm based in Kent, as a short-term loan to provide matching funds for a value-added grant to commercialize the company’s goat milk caramel sauce. The second was a $10,000 short-term working capital loan to Storehouse Tea Company, an organic/fair trade venture in Chagrin Falls, to enable it to access new markets across the state.
In June, we facilitated a $50,000 loan between an individual investor and Snowville Creamery, a presenter at the second national gathering in Vermont, to buy the creamery a new milk truck. In July, a $100,000 seed investment was finalized for Azoti, a Columbus-based startup running an online platform to distribute CSA and help local farmers grow.
We organized our first farm visit in Granville in July and held our first entrepreneur showcase in Columbus on Aug. 16, with 5 presenters and more than 30 people in attendance. There’s a local group in Cincinnati that has been meeting twice a month since May 2012 and is ready to move to the investment stage, initially on a network-only basis, but with the goal to launch an investment club soon.
Before the Ohio chapter was created, at least $350,000 was invested in local food businesses by individuals inspired by Slow Money. One beneficiary was Lucky Penny Farm, which received $300,000 between 2009 and 2011 by lining up about 30 investors, each of whom lent different amounts to capitalize the farm’s startup and expansion. Another was Snowville Creamery, which received another $50,000 in early 2012 from two individuals to purchase processing equipment needed to launch the yogurt business.
As reported by Julia Shanks and Eric Becker.
Four entrepreneur showcases to date; 520 Meetup group members; launch of Sprout Lenders; upcoming January forum with Michael Shuman on local investment vehicles.
Slow Money Boston hosted its fourth entrepreneur showcase in November. In addition to the six businesses that presented, an individual who made an investment in a company from the prior showcase shared her experience about the process.
Sprout Lenders, an investment club modeled on Maine’s No Small Potatoes, made its first investment, a royalty-based loan to Farmers To You, a Web-based direct marketer and distributor of Vermont-produced craft and artisanal food to Boston-area households.
In October, we hosted a workshop to help entrepreneurs prepare their business plans and ready themselves to raise capital.
In September, we hosted a facilitated round-table discussion with key stakeholders from a variety of organizations — government, foundations, academia, agriculture, etc. — to create an opportunity for more connections and communication around the needs of the local food system and how different parties can work together using human, social and monetary capital to address those needs.
In January, we will co-host, with the Sustainable Business Network, a daylong seminar with Michael Shuman on how to create local investment vehicles.