Happy 2016! As we move forward to embrace a new year, we thought we’d take a moment and look back at the work we’ve done in 2015.
Southern California is a wonderfully diverse and dynamic place. With a population around 29 million people, pressing water shortages, and a culture that can inspire the world, the opportunity of building a Slow Money inspired local economy in the region is exciting.
Many of you know, we changed leadership in June of this last year. Frank Golbeck took over as Network Coordinator continuing the work of co-founder, Brent Collins; Gina Waggner took on the responsibilities of Director of Marketing replacing Alison Caldwell, and Michelle Greenwood continued her recently established role as Director of Investment Programs. In addition, we developed a Leadership Council to guide our still burgeoning grassroots Slow Money SoCal Network.
As we transitioned back in June, we Leadership Council looked closely at the work we had done to date and determined there were four problem areas we wanted to start addressing in the final months of 2015. These were:
- Our Slow Money Gatherings don’t draw enough investors
- Entrepreneurs are disengaged, frustrated with the promise of Slow Money vs. the reality
- Slow Money SoCal does not have the human resources to make it sustainable
- Slow Money SoCal does not have the financial resources to make it sustainable
Though there is still much work to be done, we are encouraged to be making headway towards solutions in 2016.
We have discovered more investors attend our Gatherings than we know. Many accredited investors choose to remain anonymous, but we know deals are being consummated, both big and small. In other outreach, we continue to introduce the Local Investment Networking Club (LINC) to smaller investors and engage with raises and get-togethers around our LINC review process. LINC is not related to Slow Money or Slow Money SoCal, but made up of Slow Money minded folks. New folks continue to be exposed to our process.
In October of 2015, we did our first Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is event. Unlike Slow Money Gatherings, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is events are designed to showcase Slow Money entrepreneurs at a variety of points in their need for financial capital. It also showcases our Slow Money ideas. The invite only event is designed for accredited investors, community leaders in economic development and other interested leaders as well as community members. Our first event was held in Long Beach at Long Beach MADE. Future events are targeted for Laguna Beach, Irvine and La Jolla. Our work and outreach has suggested a combination of Lunch & Shares and a Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is Event are the best approach to educating and engaging accredited investors and others in a patient capital approach.
As we move into 2016, we are working harder to communicate our value to local investors, entrepreneurs and community members. We are committing to several presentations, Lunch & Shares and workshops. These include a newly developed workshop called Attitude, Community, Tools/Techniques (A.C.T.). The workshop focuses on what makes a Slow Money investment different. In addition, we will be doing lunch and learns several Impact Hubs and work spaces that share our values. We are also working with local Rotary Clubs, the Financial Planning Association and others that have expressed interest in finding out more about our work.
Creating a more cohesive community.
Entrepreneurs may continue to find some frustration as we try to link them to investors, but we are smoothing out our Slow Money Gathering experience.
To aid in this, we developed a large sized ‘7 Modes of Slow Money Investing’ sign for entrepreneurs to place on their tables. Creating the 7 Modes signs was a huge win for 2015. It created a clearer sense of where entrepreneurs were in their fundraising goals and moved the tabling conversations from talk about product to talk about investments. It also visually brands our events as Slow Money Gatherings focused on moving money into the local economy while reminding our members and guests that we are more than another tasting event.
To continue to create a happier community, we recognize the need to celebrate and communicate. To that end, while we develop a number of outreach projects focused on simple ideas. One of these projects is our recipe project. As thank you for local investment through Kiva we are starting to collect recipes from our entrepreneurs. Local investors will receive the recipe through email first!
Other Wins for 2015
A new relationship with Chipotle. We are thrilled to ask Chipotle to donate 50 burritos for the upcoming SocEnt Challenge, March 19th at Saddleback College. Slow Money SoCal is sponsoring the Food Track.
Kiva. We continue to develop ways for folks to engage with local investing through Kiva. We are creating several programs with Kiva as centerpiece. We will continue to work with our revolving fund to encourage and support these small raises. Our revolving fund, in conjunction with other special events is available for LINC endorsed Kiva entrepreneurs. They can receive up to 10% of their raises. We are also developing a program to encourage entrepreneurs to support one another to success and modeling local investment behavior. Our Director of Investment Programs, Michelle Greenwood, was recently selected to be part of the Kiva Small Business Advisor Pilot Program for the U.S. We are sure to see additional insights and approaches for this valuable relationship in the coming year.
As we know, it will take imagination, cooperation, and lots of good work to achieve all of these things, but we know that when we do, our local economy will be more vibrant, abundant and joyful and our work will be spent building the world we want to live in.
We rely on and celebrate the numerous wonderful volunteers that support us with their skills, knowledge and unwavering energy as we put together new programs, projects and continue our community building and monthly Slow Money SoCal Gatherings.
In addition to the hard work being done by our leadership council, we want to put out a big thank you to our volunteers and other Slow Money SoCal members for helping us actualize the Slow Money vision and build our community for a resilient local economy!
We’re looking forward to a phenomenal 2016!
Leadership Council members include a core leadership team as well as founding members and regional representatives. The Leadership Council is comprised of: Frank Golbeck, Network Coordinator (SD); Gina Waggener, Director of Marketing, (OC); Michelle Greenwood, Director of Investment Programs (OC); Mary Abad (SD); Kimberly Albright (LA); Alison Caldwell (SD); Brent Collins, co-founder (OC); Dwight Detter (SD); Emir Kiamilev (LA); Bridget Reilly (OC); Robin Shank (LA); Seth Wilson (IE).