Community Investment Fund Update February 2020

Community Investment Fund Update February 2020

We would like to take this opportunity to update you on our exploratory work to establish a community investment fund.

Since our meeting in November, we undertook – with able guidance from Tonya Graham – a “Done in a Day” strategic planning exercise to articulate our diagnosis of the current reality for the start-up or expansion of local small business and focus our efforts to connect the current reality to our future vision. I am attaching the output from that meeting.

View a pdf version of the vision here

Beginning in January, we have been very fortunate to have Brian Chu on our team for 10 weeks. Brian has a degree in economics from SOU. He is taking Stephen Sloan’s class in humane leadership this term and is an intern through the Local Innovation Lab.

In the last few weeks, Brian completed an extensive review of sources of finance for start-up or expansion of small business. His geographic focus has been on Ashland, Talent, and Phoenix. Brian’s research will help pinpoint gaps as they emerge from interviews with local business people. We want to hear from them directly the types of hurdles they face in securing business advice and financial assistance to implement their ideas. Brian will spend the next few weeks interviewing local entrepreneurs, so please send us contact information for people you may know who are looking for assistance starting or expanding their business.

Finally, Brian is also collecting examples of community investment funds elsewhere that could inform our decision-making process as we design our offerings for both entrepreneurs and local investors. What underwriting guidelines work best, what forms of investment returns appeal most to community-minded small investors, and how can we build community around innovation, equity, and entrepreneurship in our area?

Once we have finished rounding out the picture, we plan to convene another meeting to share our findings with you and define next steps to identify our first cohort of entrepreneurs and bring in potential investors to support them.

Thank you for your continued interest and support.

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