The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), a National alliance of local business networks operating based on sustainability principles, today, February 1, 2011, conducted the first of a series of free webinars on Accelerating Community Capital. [HERE IS A LINK TO THE WEBINAR MATERIALS] Communities across the nation are creating community based financial institutions that are investing equity capital and making loans to local businesses--particularly in the areas of agriculture and local food, but in many other types of business ventures as well.
Information about future webinars is available on the BALLE website. Today’s webinar was led byMichael Shuman, BALLE Research & Economic Development Director and Don Shaffer,President & CEO of RSF Social Finance. The March 1, 2011 session will be about “Local Investment Opportunity Networks, and will be led by James Frazier, Lion Investing (LionInvesting.com).
Michael Shuman provided background information on 20 and 40 year average returns on US Stock Market investments. Rough figures—the 40 year average stock market return is 2%, and the 20 year return is almost 3%. Shuman says that local investment opportunities probably need to offer a long term average return of around 5%. Any of these figures look good in today’s economy.
Don Shaffer’s firm, RSF Social Finance, makes equity investments, loans, and grants to local responsible businesses. According to Shaffer, the current financial system is complex, opaque, and short term. RSF supports a new financial system ethic of relative simplicity, transparency, and long turn investments. The community financial institution is not making money by “churning” financial assets, or by creating a new community bank, building deposits, then selling the bank to big banking firms. It turns out that there is something called a “Slow Money” movement, value and quality of life driven, like “Slow Food.” There is also a global movement that is getting the attention of major investment banks, “Impact Investing.”
Here are links to some examples of what’s going on provided by Shuman:
People interested in exploring locally owned community investment opportunities should go to the PlacerSustain Economic Development Discussion Forum and post information on their interests.