After three years of planning, learning, fundraising, partnering, and countless meetings, it’s going to happen this week. Our toolkit of local investing will be live and online. You’ve read the preliminary site at www.changexchangenw.org, so you know what we’re up to… building local investing infrastructure for the region. We will be fully open for business next week, helping you upload your private investment deals and registering (accredited) investors on the secure portal.
We’ll also be sharing what’s happening around the two states via our Community Capital Map, which will include Local Impact Investing Opportunity Networks, Local Investing Clubs, public and private opportunities, and News and Stories. We’ll be adding our first member NODE onto the Network (it’s a surprise!) and announcing the next NODE, which will include the Portland area. We’ve got astounding experts on board, and we’re gathering local partners. We can’t wait to meet you.
The site is raw right now, but more content is being added daily from all over the country. As Board Member Kristin Wolff says, “I now live in Rough Draft.” I like it. In this digital world of constant Web site launches, there is little separation between us and you–communities now get to co-create solutions. That’s a value we hold up high. We hope you’ll engage with us, email us, call us, and dig in. Our own capital. Using it wisely is the most powerful voice we have, and we don’t have to ask anyone for permission to use it, either.
The gifted author Michael Shuman will be in Portland and Corvallis, helping us understand our power, our real power, that we currently fail to use well. He’ll prod us into a better understanding of why retaining capital and focusing on social and locally owned enterprises makes all the difference.
Launching ChangeXchange NW while Michael is in Oregon is a perfect opportunity to hear what has to be said, and understand what’s hard to fathom–why the statewide efforts of big companies and big growth is never going to do the trick, and is simply not what creates jobs and vibrancy. Don’t believe me? Stop by the office and I’ll share a copy of either Jane Jacob’s brilliant and still very relevant book “The Economy of Cities” or Michael’s “The Smal-Mart Revolution.”
It’ll give you a new lens on life!
The ChangeXchange NW Web site was previewed at our September Re:Forum, where we described the Northwest Network and the work underway to begin building the infrastructure for invigorating innovation and community. Mike Van Patten, Founder and CEO of Mission Markets was there from New York to share his view of the trends of the capital markets. While there, both Mike and I were interviewed by Oakley Brooks, a writer for Ecotrust’s blog, to talk about our intentions for ChangeXchange NW. The article is titled, “Local investing. An app for that.”
The story provides a good overview of the way the site will work, from the crowdfunding sections to the private and public equity offerings that will also be available on the site. It also begins to touch on Springboard’s community engagement process that is the secret sauce of the ChangeXchange NW Network.
Here’s how the conversation usually goes… I describe the exciting financial functionality of the ChangeXchange NW site, and soon after the words local investing get uttered. This is when people often say something like, “Yes, but average folks don’t know that they are investors” or, ” That’s great, but how will small companies know how to get ready to do an offering?” Finally, they end up saying something like, “It seems like a lot of education will be needed.” EXACTLY.
I couldn’t agree more.
Our objective is to use our educational expertise to be local “translators” of new economic practices, helping citizens in every community in the Northwest engage to create value. We have stopped focusing on the technology as the answer, and shifted to acting on the fact that human infrastructure is the answer and technology is a tool.
Want more information? Check it out!
A new unconference lands in Portland to talk up social impact, startup, capital raising, new funds, and many other related subjects under the banner of social impact. The event will be held at Olympic Mills Commerce Center located at the corner of SE Washington and SE 2nd. It looks to be a mashup of the ideas swirling around the emerging space of social and environmental change and how to grow those efforts. There will be skills workshops, office hours, and un-presentations with lots of hands-on engagement with participants. And, it looks like we won’t just be talking to ourselves, colleagues are coming from outside the city to help think about what social impact really means in a number of disciplines.
What does it really mean?
A social entrepreneur is someone who intentionally designs and launches an enterprise of some kind designed to address a social/environmental/educational problem in the world. Their bottom line objective is social impact–identified, measured, marketed, maintained. It is not tangential to the work. And so, they create a social enterprise. What is a social entreprenuer? I like to riff off of Sally Osberg’s defintion of the Skoll Foundation who described social entrepreneurs and their quest for social impact as “seeing problems as opportunities for disrupting an unjust equilibrium and replacing it with a more just system.”
When a multi-national company puts 1% of its profits into social causes, is it suddenly a social venture? Is a company that treats its employees well, gives to charity, and whose employees help out a local soup kitchen a social venture?
So, is social impact random…accidental? While I’m sure that happens on occasion, a social enterprise is an intentionally designed business. Social impact is purposeful.
This field is emerging, and our collective future demands precision of intent and of language. I’m looking forward to talking more about this during the unconference, working with exisitng and emerging businesses, and entrepreneurs young and old alike, who want to do things differently… just what does that look like when you intend to have social impact? It’s the best conversation we can have!
Various Web defintions describe hacking as a “coordinated (hostile) attack.” Perhaps that’s the right approach here. Not the hostile part, but the coordinated attack part. I look forward to coordinating efforts with others with the same purpose–doing things differently to achieve better outcomes!
The Hacking Social Impact Unconference begins Monday night Nov 12th, 5:30 p.m. at Ecotrust’s roof, and continues throughout the day Tuesday, Nov 13th at Olympic Mills Commerce Center beginning at 8:30 a.m. Register here.
SoCap continues its tradtion of bringing the best ideas from around the world. Yesterday we heard from Gar Alperovitz who reminded us this is about democratizing the economy,power, and engagement. It was great.
If you have a saving account that is making 0.0something% interest
If you shop at the farmers market
If you sponsor your kid’s sports team
If you keep tabs on neighborhood news
If you seek out organic, local, and or sustainable products
Then you care about the local economy.
Know it or not, you are already an investor. So, you care about the local economy… isn’t it is time to connect your daily decisions to eat locally and buy locally to your investments?
If this sounds good but you have no idea where to start, we have the solution. If you’ve been reading up on impact investing but are interested in focusing locally, you’re in the right place. What if you are ready to invest in your neighborhood or local business and need a game plan? Got you, we hear you, we want to help.
Everyone should be coming to the September forum. Everyone. Your adult son who is just figuring out what to do with his IRA or 401k. Your aunt who gave you a sweet graduation present. Your book club members and badminton partners. Your neighbor. You.
Spread the word. We can change our relationship to our money, and grow the local economy ourselves. Choose the businesses we want next door. Benefit by local investments.
Pioneers in the field are joinging us September 13th: Calvert Foundation, Cutting Edge Capital, Mission Markets, Equal Exchange, and more. Springboard Innovation will also share information about a new effort underway that will make local investing easier. Join us.
Thursday, September 13 | 5:30 – 8:00 pm
No matter your level of knowledge on local impact investing, we have built a forum and panel program for everyone who is interested and ready to invest in a strong local economy.
43 SW Naito Parkway Portland OR (Mercy Corps’ Aceh Community Room)
$15 Pre-Registered | $20 at the door
Workshops on September 14th & 15th
411 SW 6th Portland OR (EXPLANE’s office)
WORKSHOP #1: the Direct Public Offering – Part II of the Series
The national community finance expert Jenny Kassan of Cutting Edge Capital and others will be moving our DPO cohort from June to the next level in a special session on Friday. Bring your SCOR form and your team.
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Workshop Fee: $149.00
WORKSHOP #2: Become a Smart Local Investor
We follow up the inspiration and possibilities from Thursday night’s panel with plans of action. We answer questions such as what are the legal parameters, how do I join a network of people doing similar things, where do I start in doing my due diligence et cetera. If you missed our first workshop in June, this is your chance to catch up.
9:00 am – 12pm
Workshop Fee: $25.00
WORKSHOP #3: Strategy Session for NW Ecosystem Builders
If you consult with entrepreneurs in your town, or are helping build local investing strategies, then this session is designed for you and your team. At our June Re:Forum we met ecosystem builders from six cities. Let’s continue the network for impact local investing. You will be the first to use the new local exchange. This workshop is designed for ecosystem builders who are transforming the way their towns and cities boost their local economies. Register here.
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Workshop Fee: $25.00
For more information: call us at 503 452 6898, email Lin at email@example.com, check out this newsletter, or go to the event page.
“How are we going to begin rebuilding the broken economy and creating jobs? Where is the investment going to come from? One answer is taking shape in dozens of towns and neighborhoods across the country, as citizens from Brooklyn, NY to Port Townsend, WA are figuring out ways to invest in the local businesses that create jobs and help build strong local economies.” – Amy Cortese, author, “Locavesting”