This month I attended two fabulous conferences: First, the COCAP Revolution: Building the WE Economy conference in vibrant Oakland and then the BALLE Leadership Summit in beautiful Monterey. These conferences were my first opportunities to meet other folks who do local economy work outside of our corner of the Pacific Northwest. I met amazing
changemakers from Mobile, the Mississippi Delta, Chattanooga, Philadelphia, New York City, San Francisco, Michigan, and Phoenix, just to name a few.
Through my role at Community Sourced Capital I have heard firsthand the challenges of running a small business: the barriers to accessing capital, the predatory lenders, unaffordable commercial space, as well as its great joys: meaningful work, cultural preservation, and vibrant local economies.
Gathering together with other folks from around the country was a wonderful opportunity to share what I’ve learned from our work, especially what I have learned from our Squareholders. Lending a small amount to a local business in one’s community has given individuals a new way to support a business they love. For most of us, the only way to support a business we love is through being a customer. But by buying a Square in a CSC campaign, we have a new way to support what we love. Local lending builds relationships, trust, and connection in local communities.
The lending community we have created together resonated with everyone I spoke to! I left the conferences determined to grow what we do here in the PNW and energized by the work that is being done all around our country.
Together, we’re building an economy that works for all.
Want to learn more about these inspiring folks? Check out the Boston Ujima project, which is creating an equitable local investing fund for underserved communities in Boston. Mutual Aid Networks is building a network of
cooperatives to cultivate meaningful work and connection, Kiva.org recently upped their loan limit to $25k. Rising Tide Capital supported local underserved entrepreneurs to create 154 jobs in Jersey City. And check out NextCity, Laura Flanders, and Yes! Magazine for covering this work and others all year round.