Wow. I should not be surprised that there is a lot of investment energy going on in Portland, one of the food capitals of the country. Still: the last two weeks have been an exciting ride as SMNW organizes it’s first April 11th Portland event.
Various efforts to grow the regional food and farm economy are already under way and involve city/county/state governments, banks and credit unions, foundations, non-profits, equity capital firms, individual investors, as well as farmers, ranchers, fishers, processors, distributors, wholesalers, and retail outlets. SMNW has been in conversations with all of them.
The most pressing question has become: so what value can we add to the emerging and present opportunities? We do not (yet) have the bandwidth to maintain different work in Portland, so we are hoping to compliment and catalyze what is already moving.
There are two exciting community investment related innovations already under way that are focused on how individual investors can safely invest in regional businesses.
Springboard Innovations holds a quarterly forum to launch action and the ecosystem for social innovation. A Portland local investment network, LION:PDX, is having it’s first informational meeting today, March 22nd. Modeled on other LIONS network including Pt Townsend and the Whatcom Investing Network, this effort creates a pathway for individuals to find out more about specific investment opportunities. So, accred and non-accred network? Check.
Along with this work are various private, foundation, and government efforts all moving in to this food and farm investment space right now. SMNW has been in touch with a handful of these professional networks all seeking to find out more about what we and others are doing, what best practices are emerging, and connect with current offerings. This sounds like what we have been doing in Seattle area the last two years. So: accredited investor education and presentations? Bingo!
The downside is that we are not going to connect with all of Portland on this first outing, however we will have a Slow Money colleague discussing our work at Springboard Innovations forum the next day, so please sign up for that event to find out more about how you can engage.
The upside is that that is a good first step since, in the end, we want to work with what is already housed within Portland and help make those efforts grow, while focusing on a niche that we are doing and is needed to support those various efforts.
If you are interested in finding out more about any of these events feel free to contact us.