What do a small farmer from Kentucky, Wells Fargo Bank, a nonprofit leader, a large scale natural food entrepreneur, The New York Times, and a local grain miller have in common? All were in attendance at this week’s Slow Money National Gathering in Boulder. There is no question that this movement is growing, with an increasing number of mainstream institutions and traditional investors joining the conversation.
We just returned from this event, where we engaged in inspiring conversation with over 650 entrepreneurs, investors, and practioners. Also in attendance were food luminaries such as Carlo Petrini, Wes Jackson, and Joan Dye Gussow, who spoke about the common sense nature of the work we do, the challenges to doing it, and the policy changes that will support the shift to a healthier system.
Twenty-five entrepreneurs from across the country pitched their businesses to potential investors, including two from Washington State. Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies makes an organic grade seed coating which increases a plant’s resistance to harsh conditions. This game-changing enterprise will present their opportunity at our Showcase on May 20th. Also representing the Northwest, was CPOW Livestock Processor Cooperative, who recently broke ground on a meat processing plant in Eastern Washington that will shorten the supply chain and boost the profits of their member ranchers.
So what did we learn? We at SMNW are pioneers, and not just in the larger financial movement. We have the largest budget of any of the regional chapters and our additional efforts have paid off: NW regional investors have placed $5 million of the total $25 million for all 16 chapters. While our focus has been on connecting entrepreneurs with accredited investors, our sister organization in North Carolina has had success with non-accredited investors as well.
Invigorated by the presence of so many people with so much passion to fix our broken financial and food systems, we return to the Northwest with a renewed commitment to expand our work here in the Puget Sound Region
In case you missed the gathering it is possible to purchase access to the archives.