Need a small business loan? Attend CSC’s Money on a Mission event!

Money on a Mission Event - get a small business loan
Money on a Mission Event – attend to explore small business loans

More often than not a small business owner needs the opportunity to do lots of things all at once – from managing people, community relations, and inventory management to payroll, social media and financial planning for future growth. That’s an awful lot and we’ve heard from the small businesses we work with that managing their business finances can be the most difficult part of running the business because it’s not where their heart and passion lies.
Continue reading “Need a small business loan? Attend CSC’s Money on a Mission event!”

Serious about local finance

We’re serious about this local finance thing.

Americans love buying domestic products, they love spending money at local businesses, and it’s practically in our DNA to cheer on ambitious entrepreneurs chasing the American Dream.

We started Community Sourced Capital to chase an American Dream of our own, Continue reading “Serious about local finance”

Harvesting Social Capital: a renewable resource

This week, we’re launching our third and most ambitious campaign to-date with A&R Solar, a Seattle-based renewable energy company. Having A&R approach us to help them raise money for their new office space is an honor. One of the highest compliments I’ve received in my young business career was from Dave Kozin (A&R Solar’s CFO), stating “we could probably find other ways of financing this project, but we want to do it with you guys. We think it will be more fun getting CSC and our community involved.”< It's this kind of intuitive and values-based decision making in business that I identify with, and it's where I see CSC having continued success in the future. Actually, there are a lot of parallels between the two companies. Both are small, owner-operated, bootstrapped service businesses. A&R is a registered B-Corp. CSC is a Social Purpose Corporation. Both are built with sustainability at the core of the business model. We’re creating new jobs in a radically different economy than we might have planned for a decade ago.

In prepping for A&R’s $20,000 Squareholder Campaign, we spent the afternoon shooting a campaign video in their new headquarters (it’s a bit empty in the picture above) with a few members of the team. It was way too much fun to be considered work.

And having fun matters. Every day, the way we carry ourselves in the world impacts relationships and connections to those around us–either growing them stronger, letting them fall apart, or missing opportunities to build new ones by blowing by at life’s busy pace and forgetting to look up and meet your neighbor. Social capital fosters reciprocity and the willingness to share resources–knowledge, connections, equipment or even money!

So, how do we put social capital to work? After all, social capital is a renewable resource if we are conscious in how we use it. Consider the companies CSC has had the honor of working with so far. Each harvests a renewable resource, generating new value without being extractive. Recycling sporting goods at Playback Sports, organic farming of a perennial berry with Starvation Alley Farms and now solar energy with A&R Solar.

CSC’s business model is intentionally designed in a similar way. We harvest social capital in the form of shared money. In returning the money to Squareholders, we don’t deplete their ability to share it again. We believe this is part of a larger movement as we transform how we collectively think about money. We’re grateful for the small business owners, the squareholders and all the people in our world who are making their decisions based on their deepest values. This is what will bring in a new economy!

Swimming and diving: an update from the team

What does it take to pull off Community Sourced Capital? A wide range of talents and an insatiable passion for using finance to enhance communities. No big deal.

We share this story with you because we want you to see the kind of topics we’re thinking about in addition to everything we produce. It’s one thing to start a business, and it’s another to share that experience with our network of supporters.

Following the official launch of our first “live” community lending campaigns, we brought our entire team together last week for a full weekend “hang out” and a one day “retreat” at our Hub Seattle headquarters. Brent flew in from Roanoke, Meryl came up from Denver, and Alex, Casey and Rachel enjoyed short bus rides from their homes in Seattle. We also had the incredible opportunity to have the entire team meet with our amazing mentors: Jon Kroman, Todd MacDonald, and Carol Sanford.

Todd led us through a morning exercise of exploring how our team’s interactions ripple out and affect our customer relationships; the core of our team operations will show up in our everyday interactions with non-team members, and those interactions could even show up in our customers relationships with their customers. Whoa. It was an exciting reminder of how important a healthy team is for running a healthy company. And ultimately, it re-enforces our core purpose of building community through trust-based relationships.

In the afternoon, Carol took us down an incredible path of exploring how we engage with our customers and Squareholders in order to create systems of constructive dialogue instead of just asking for “feedback” and seeing what shows up in the inbox. We want to invite our customers and Squareholders to conversations that reward everyone involved through real conversations. “Feedback” often misses this target by a longshot. We hope you hold us to this challenge.

At the end of the day, we’re still swimming along, creating and growing our community finance platform. Our team retreat was a reminder that we should never hesitate to take deep dives into re-exploring our company’s essence, what we do, how we do it, and who we are when we do what we do.

Here’s to swimming, diving, designing, playing, and inviting people to learn alongside with us, all at the same time.

Generative design and local living economies

Last week, Casey and I returned to our Alma Mater, the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, to talk about Community Sourced Capital with about 20 MBA Students studying Local Living Economies in a class taught by sustainable finance expert Stuart Cowan. Continue reading “Generative design and local living economies”

Pitching sustainable finance to a few hundred

Just last weekend, co-founders Rachel Maxwell and Casey Dilloway pitched Community Sourced Capital to a few hundred friends, family members, social entrepreneurs and investors as part of Fledge Demo Day in Seattle. Fledge is the “conscious company” incubator that CSC has been working with for the last few weeks.

Continue reading “Pitching sustainable finance to a few hundred”

The CSC Team talks about their vision of Sustainable Finance

Last June the CSC Team mused on meaning and finance when on the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. Check out the video we shot on our phone and get to know us a little better.

The heart of money: what winning might look like

I had a dream last night where I was visiting with students in a college finance class. It was casual conversation about careers and post-graduation plans until I saw a prompt on the whiteboard. It was a chance to enter an essay contest. In 50 words or less, alumni had to answer the essay question, whereas undergrad students could take as much room as they like.

I should pause here to clarify that yes, I do in fact have dreams this vivid. So, here was the question I created in my dream:

If our entire financial system was competing in the Olympics, who would win the bronze?

I immediately started overhearing students discussing how AA versus AAA rated bonds are ranked. “Which one is better, again?” they asked each other. The girl at my table asked me to review what she wrote, but I had to write my response first. This is what I wrote:

As with most competitions, the winners and losers are determined by the judges. What Olympic competition are we talking about? Who are the judges? What are the metrics being used to evaluate the contestants? How might the rules of the game evolve over time to challenge future contestants?

I guess in my dream, I found it more valuable to throw questions back at the judges with which to score other essays, than for me to try and win the contest myself. Or maybe I just didn’t have the right answer ready. Either way, I’m sure I snuck my essay at the top of the pile so the judges of this competition might read my rebuttal before scoring the rest of the entries.

Think about the different Olympic competitions and what we expect from each one. Gymnastics: grace and perfection. Diving: form and execution. Running: speed and speed alone. The undisputed, most important element in each of these competitions: heart. The heart of the contestants is the determining factor in every competition. It has no official line on the rubric, but it absolutely shows up in every evaluated element.

What is the heart of the financial system you know? What is the heart of the financial system you want to know?

Go ahead and try this quick exercise. Write down the two or three variables you would consider while evaluating some financial system that your money is circulating through. It could be your checking account or your 401(k). How does heart show up in these financial systems? How might the lack or presence of heart in these systems affect the future of your finances?

Your money is in the middle of a worldwide competition, much like the Olympics. In which ways might instilling heart in this competition help guide contestants to a more likely and deserved victory?

And the best news: the rules of this race are still being determined. At the end of the day, we each get to decide what winning looks like.

 

Casey Dilloway is a co-founder of Community Sourced Capital. He took several finance classes in his undergraduate business education, but didn’t really fall in love with its potential until studying it for his Sustainable MBA at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute. You can follow Casey on twitter at @CaseyJD.

You can help CSC make finance local

We created a funding platform for everyday citizens to lend directly to strong local businesses that they know. We’re starting with small businesses because its no secret that they’re responsible for the bulk of jobs created in this country, and banks are not lending to small businesses like they used to.

At the same time, experts agree that small businesses are the keystone to resilient regional economies…economies that don’t crumble when a single manufacturer leaves town or when a national housing crisis triggers the loss of 9 million jobs. We can use our money to fund a stronger world than that. Community Sourced Capital gives you the power to fund the world you want to live in.

It all starts with a square.

 

  • Squares represent loans to businesses.
  • Squares are $100 and anyone can buy one.
  • Funding a $20,000 project means selling 200 squares.
WE can control the economic vitality of our country just by putting our money to work in the right way! After all, we all have money. At least a little bit.

Here’s how it works: CSC hosts a business, their story and their funding project on our website. Over time, the business builds rapport with their community through an ongoing marketing campaign to their community that identifies future lenders. Then we contact the business and say “Hey, guess what! You just had your 200th supporter sign on to lend you $100. Now you have access to $20,000 in community sourced capital. Ready to hit go?” The funding round ensues, money is transferred, and then the repayment begins. If you are a community member who wants to join the movement to localize finance, sign up for updates. If you have questions or comments please contact Rachel@communitysourcedcapital.com.

We’d love for you to join the crowd at the Fledge Demo Day on September 23rd at the Intiman Theater. We’ll be presenting with six other conscious companies.