Small Business RULES in Illinois: HB3791 and HB2946

We are all well aware that the majority of job growth and economic activity are driven by small business. From the Wall Street Journal to the New York Time to CNBC, all have ran story after story confirming that small business is the engine that drives economic growth.

One state that has, for the most part, been left behind in the growth of small innovative businesses is Illinois. Budget issues and folks leaving our state have hampered small business growth. What can be done?

Recently we are see legislative changes that have the potential to make a dramatic improvement in this negative phenomenon. In May of 2016, Illinois unanimously passed the Illinois Intrastate Offering Exemption (Illinois Investment Crowdfunding Law HB 3429). State Representative Carol Sente filed the bill written by, Freeborn Peters partner / attorney, Anthony Zeoli supported by the SBAC and (state registered and regulated) Illinois intrastate crowdfunding portal VestLo.com. This major accomplishment now appears to be only the beginning in the move to once again make Illinois the leader in small business growth.

Two new Bills have been introduced to the State Legislature by Carol Sente and the team involved in last years victory. In late October, 2017 the SEC updated Rule 147 (Intrastate Investment Exemption) allowing for improved conditions for Intrastate crowdfunding, by creating Rule 147A. The original rule 147 allowed for some 29 states to enact laws allowing local businesses to raise funds from its neighbor (state residents) without the onerous (and expensive) regulation of the Federal government. Working directly with state regulators, in most cases the individual states, Secretary of State Securities division. The updated rules require the states to amend the current Intrastate crowdfunding laws to take advantage of these positive changes to the federal update.

Illinois, under Carol Sente’s leadership, has taken the lead by filing bill HB 3791 on Feb. 10th, 2017. Among other things, this amendment will allow for companies formed in states other than Illinois (ie. Delaware) who operate and employ in Illinois to raise growth capital under the Illinois Investment crowdfunding law. The new bill which enables for the rules under the new 147A, will also allow companies to receive local investment when complying with one of the 3 requirements (80/80/80 rule) that allow companies to meet the intrastate exemption. Rather than being required to have 80% of revenue, 80% of employees and 80% of use of funds within the state. Now an Illinois small business will only need to meet ONE of these 3 requirements rather than all 3. Yet another advantage of enacting HB 3791 is the ability for small business to use General Solicitation, meaning although investment must come from Illinois residents, companies can advertise their offering without fear of losing the exemption when social medial or other means take the advertisement beyond state lines.

BUT WAIT… There’s MORE (much, much more)

Launched in 2011, the State of Illinois passed the Illinois Angel Tax credit (25% of Angel investments) enabling for $10,000,000 in state tax credits for investors in qualified investment in qualified Illinois based businesses. That law expired effective Dec. 31, 2016.

In a potentially revolutionary move, Rep. Carol Sente along with State Representative Elgie R. Sims, Jr. and Representative Emanuel Chris Welch have filed a bill (HB 2946) to re-instate and IMPROVE the Angel Investment Tax credit to $20,000,000 and run through 2021.
Why is this revolutionary??
Bill HB 2946 allows (and encourages) investment in Illinois business from not only accredited Angel Investors but from ordinary unaccredited Illinois residents!!
Qualifying investment opportunities are required to set aside 25% of the investment to unaccredited investors through the Illinois Investment Crowdfunding law. This encourages Angel investors to “slice off a piece” of their vetted investments allowing participation to regular citizens through a registered Illinois Intrastate Investment Crowdfunding Portal. The new bill also loosens the requirements for businesses eligible for the Illinois Angel Tax credit to extend beyond Technology companies to include wholesale, retail, hospitality and more. If enacted this Illinois law will be the 1st of its type in the United States, modeled after the run-away success of the equity crowdfunding tax credit in the United Kingdom. Small business investment exploded in the UK following enactment of their small business investment tax credit.

This law would help to fulfill the vision of VestLo, Anthony Zeoli and the Small Business Advocacy Council by encouraging Angel Investors and Angel groups to include Illinois residents of average means to participate in the types of small business private investments that have the potential to create real wealth and growth in Illinois.

We encourage EVERY Illinois resident to contact your local State Representative, State Senator and Governor Rauner to support these incredible bills to become the Law. They have the potential to truly impact the economy and job growth in Illinois.

Disclaimer: The author of this article is neither an Accountant or and Attorney. Illinois Business owners and Investors are encouraged to speak with a licensed Attorney and/or CPA before filing for this type of Tax credit / Tax incentive when available.

 

 

 

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Huge Step for “Invest Local Illinois”

In the instant gratification mindset of today, it’s often a challenge to remember that real change takes time. No where is this truer than in the highly regulated world of finance. Around 18 months ago the state of Illinois passed perhaps the most business and investor friendly Intrastate Investment crowdfunding law in the country. Those rules went in to effect on January 1, 2016 and since that day people have been anxiously waiting to see a local small business utilize these rules to raise growth capital.

Well…. The wait is over!!

cardfrenzy-logo

Cardfrenzy, a retail chain of card and gift shops has listed an offering with Illinois registered investment portal VestLo. Cardfrenzy working to raise up to $500,000 from its customers and neighbors to fund the growth of its franchise program operations.

Investment in the Cardfrenzy Franchise program is exclusively for Illinois residents. You can view the the offering here:

https://vestlo.com/deal/cardfrenzy-franchising-program

Always remember that investing comes with risk. Especially when looking at investments in small privately held companies. Please be sure to review all the documents and financials prior to making any investment. It is an investors responsibility to do their own due-diligence. We never offer investment advice but we LOVE the idea of Illinois citizens supporting Illinois businesses.

 

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Illinois Equity Crowdfunding is now available

Originally posted at Crowdfunding-Website-Reviews the applications and final rules for both issuers and portals has now become available. The most dynamic intrastate crowdfunding rule in the nation is now effective. All needed rules and regulations have been provided by the Illinois Secretary of State and Issuers are lining up to take advantage of this new capital raising tool.

UPDATE #3: The long awaited final rules and applications from the Illinois Secretary of State have finally arrives. One portal, VestLo, has announced that they have submitted their application to act as an Illinois Intrastate Equity Portal through this press release. We have been rather surprised that the local Chicago news has not yet written on this exciting new development. The Portal and Issuer applications can be found on the Secretary of States website. You can find all Illinois Equity Crowdfunding Forms. To go directly to the issuer registration form, it can be found here. With Illinois companies having the ability to raise $4mm vs the federal crowdfunding laws being limited to $1mm raise. The Illinois law has come big advantages over the JOBS Act. Our expectation is for the Illinois law to be the proof that intrastate will be a real option for businesses based in Chicago and around the State.

UPDATE #2: Looks like we can expect the administrative rules, portal application and issuer application to be released by the Illinois Secretary of State by April 1st, 2016. We are expecting 3-4 portals to be applying to the state under HB 3429 (Illinois INTRASTATE OFFERINGS EXEMPTION aka The Illinois Investment Crowdfunding law) on the 1st day the application is made available. There appears to be more excitement surrounding the Illinois law than we have found in any of the other 29 states with intrastate crowdfunding has been enacted. Portals have already begun marketing efforts to attract both issuing companies and Illinois investors. A few of these portals seem to include truCrowd (also operating in Texas), VestLo and a couple more portals that have asked us to “keep things quiet” until the final rules are released.

UPDATE: Illinois HB 3429 – Illinois Equity Crowdfunding has passed both the State House and Senate unanimously as of May 20, 2015. The bill is on its way to Governor Bruce Rauner to be signed in to law. We have total confidence that our business friendly governor will have no reservations signing this bill and helping to expedite its implementation. The Illinois intrastate equity crowdfunding bill is the most aggressive attempt of any state bill to encourage the invest-local movement.
Check back often for updates on this exciting new time for Illinois small business and investors as we will be following this very closely. More Info

Investing in Distinct Chicago Neighborhoods

Introduction:

Chicago is a fantastic city with a unique blend of culture, arts, and tradition. You can witness the most modern technological advances as well as the links to ancient history as well. Chicago is home to around 77 neighborhoods comprising of about 51 communities. The heart and soul of Chicago resides in them. You can divide Chicago into four geographical areas as follows.

  • North Chicago
  • West Chicago
  • Downtown Chicago
  • South Chicago

We shall explore about ten great Chicago neighborhoods locations. We shall discover the historical sites as well as attraction encompassing art, culture, nightlife, and shopping.

  • Bucktown / Wicker Park:

This sounds like a very odd name for a modern neighborhood. Today, this place is one of the most modern and trendy neighborhood in the whole of Chicago. However, in the early days, goats used to graze aplenty. This is how this place got the name. The buck is a male goat. Polish immigrants used to rear these male and female goats in the early part of the nineteenth century. It is around the last quarter of the twentieth century that Bucktown evolved as an artistic community. The area has fantastic infrastructure with more than two million homes scattered around the neighborhood. Today the higher rents in Bucktown are pushing people down south into the Wicker Park area.

 

  • Gold Coast / Old Town:

Stunning lake views characterize this area and separate them from the others. This is a high-priced community area with several houses touching millions. This place has some of the oldest styles of Chicago mansions where people can experience intentional living and share humongous space. This area is famous for its nightspots, good food, as well proximity to the lakes and business districts. The most renowned location in this area is the Oak Street running through the heart of an area, the “Viagra Triangle.” Here you can see elderly men having a great time with young women in their twenties.

  • Hyde Park:

There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the most famous resident of this area is the present United States President, Barack Obama. The area is also home to several prestigious universities and institutions such as the University of Chicago. This University has churned out 87 Nobel laureates. This makes it one of the most prestigious Chicago neighborhoods.

 

  • Lincoln Park:

 

About two centuries ago, this area was full of swamps and forests. Today, this is one of the most fashionable areas in Chicago. This is one of the best places to start a family. There are a number of good schools as well as colleges in the vicinity. The greatest advantage of this place is that you do not require a car to move around the place. This is because of scarce parking space. You can find DePaul University’s largest as well as the oldest campus here in Lincoln Park. This is the headquarters of the ultimate resale shop, Millionaire Rejects.

 

  • River North:

 

Until very recently people referred to this area as a slum. However, real estate developer, Albert Friedman changed the landscape by leasing out the buildings to art galleries, and other agencies such as photographers. Today you can find the area has more than 100 art galleries in a cluster. This area boasts of the world’s largest commercial building, Merchandise Mart. This area also houses the world’s tallest residential skyscraper, Trump Tower built by Donald Trump. The transformation from a slum to one of best Chicago neighborhoods is fantastic.

 

  • Roscoe Village:

 

In the late nineteenth century, German and Swedish workers settled here. They developed a great industrial township. The Great Depression saw the downfall on innumerable industrial units and slowed down the development. However, the real estate activities picked up in the latter half of the twentieth century. This area is famous for being in close proximity to The Loop. However, this area has retained the rustic charm of a village. You can find numerous antique stores in this area.

 

  • South Loop:

This place is home to some of the top tourist locations today. However, in the early part of the twentieth century, this area was the hotbed of brothels, saloons, and pawnbrokers. Today, you can find luxury high-rise apartments all over the area. This area is famous for its proximity to Lake Michigan. This is a fast developing area and the favorite of the young working professional. This makes it one of the upcoming Chicago neighborhoods.

 

  • Streeterville:

This is a developing neighborhood. Real estate values are now very high in this area. The old buildings have given way to new high-rises with more than the usual amenities. Most of the complexes have banks, clubs, convenience stores, as well as hotels. You can find parking cost to be very heavy in this neighborhood at $ 250 a month. This would make renting out taxis much cheaper.

 

  • West Loop:

This area is home to Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios Empire. Initially, a warehouse district, this area is now home to contemporary lofts, mid-rises, and art galleries. You may not find buildings more than seven stories high in this area. In comparison with other areas, parking is quite cheap here. Hence, people prefer this area to others. You can find the Whitney M Young Magnet High school here. One of its most famous students is the First Lady of the US, Michelle Obama. You should not miss the Randolph Street Market in this area.

 

  • Ukrainian Village:

You can find a rich blend of German, Polish, and Ukrainian culture in this village, just south of Wicker Park. Though today, most of the people are not of Ukrainian lineage, you can find some of the best Ukrainian food in the area. You can still hear some people speak in the Ukrainian language here. This is a middle class locality with a three-bedroom condominium available for $ 350,000. You can also find some old Victorian era houses in the area. You can find communities living here for decades.

 

Conclusion:

You have seen ten Chicago neighborhoods with a unique blend of culture and history. Today, the areas have seen tremendous development. However, they have still maintained the traditional look in places.

Many Ways to Support Local Business

There are a lot of ways to invest in the modern world. Many people opt to invest in big name companies on the stock market. With recent trends towards shopping local and growing local though this doesn’t make since. Why would you invest local in Illinois? Almost every city and even state has businesses that could use investors.

One of the biggest reasons to invest local is that you are helping out your own economy. The changes that your investments made can be both seen and experienced firsthand. As people start to invest in their own cities they will start to see an overall improvement in quality of life. Streets become safer and businesses can grow.

Think about all of the local businesses you go to. If you think about it almost every small business has areas they need funds in order to improve. Your contribution can make that business better so they can afford to pay their employees more, offer lower prices, expand if they need to, or even upgrade to meet modern times.

How Can You Invest?

There are a variety of different ways that you can invest in your community. Each type has its own benefits for you and the business. Here are some of the ways that you can invest.

Loans

Loans come in a variety of forms, large and small for example. They also come with different repayment terms. Some lenders dictate how the loan should be applied, for example, they might say it is for upgrading your storefront.

Common Stocks

Common stocks are what most people think of stocks. When you invest in common stock it gives you partial ownership in the business and a level of control. The only difference in this case is that you are owning part of a local business.

Preferred Stocks

These stocks are more up the street of people who want to earn returns but don’t want to spend the time controlling a part of the business. Preferred stocks give you regular returns but offer no control or voting power over the business.

Royalties

Royalties is essentially the process of earning money based on the sales of a business. The amount of money you earn can be statically based on business or can be changed based off of the season and the level of business being done.

Pre-Sales

Pre-sales is when you get a portion of the advanced sale of goods. Sometimes this will even be for more than the amount that you originally invested.

Who Can Invest?

While the ideal answer would be anyone can invest, the time has not arrived when just anyone can invest in local businesses. The Security Exchange Commission has established a set of rules that determine who can invest in local businesses and how. These criteria are different depending on what type of investment you are talking about.

These rules for investing were not originally set up to limit investors. They were set up to protect investors. The federal government put these rules into effect when it noticed that people were starting to fall for investment scams. They prevent people from just falling into a pit of lost money.

There are some exceptions to the rules for investing. The most important and biggest exemption is the friends and family exemption. This allows most people to ask their friends and family for money for businesses or projects. There are still a few regulations for this exemption but it gives people wide latitude.

Accredited investors also have an exemption. These investors are high-wealth or large income individuals who are not considered to need the protection against losing money. They make enough money that should they lose a little it wouldn’t cause a severe detriment to their life. In most cases an individual has to have made over $200,000 for the last two years. If they are married they have to have over $300,000 a year in those last two years.

There are a few more exemptions but they get a little more difficult to navigate.

Where To Find Investment Opportunities?

There are a lot of options out there for investing in your community. You don’t have to be a major investor in order to help out and get a little money back. Here are some easy ways for you to invest local in Illinois or anywhere else in the world.

Co-Ops

A great place to find investment opportunities is in a Co-Op. The simplest way to explain a Co-Op is that they are a member owned business. You have probably heard of REI, which is similar to a Co-Op as it is a member owned food. The business is run for the benefit of those who are members. Members often can vote and have a say in how the business is run.

At the end of the financial year members can a percentage of the profit from the business. Members also tend to get special deals and benefits when they shop at the Co-Op. Co-Ops tend to be for food and farms but you can occasionally find Co-Ops for other purposes such as learning.

Friends, Family, and LIONs Clubs

If you have any friends that are starting a business or want to start a business ask if you can invest. This will help them start a business while allowing you to make some money. When you go about it this way you have less restrictions to worry about.

LIONS or Local Investing Opportunities Networks connect investors with small businesses in the area. They do it in such a way that the two parties create a community and friendship that will alst beyond the investment. It is more than just helping people fund their businesses, in most cases LIONs are made by community members to better the area they live in. Because LIONs clubs connect investors and businesses in a social environment you do not need to be an accredited investor. There are no third parties pressuring you to invest or instructing you on how to do it.

Pre-Pay For Local Goods

The process for prepaying has been around for a long time but recently it hasn’t been utilized by as many people. The name pretty much says it all, you prepay for your local goods in advance and it helps the store gain the money it needs to operate. If you invest at a certain level you often are able to earn interest on your prepayment. There are a number of websites out there that can help you find locations with prepayment options. Credible is a website that allows you to prepay at local stores through their website. Currently Credible is only for food locations.

Look For Local Stocks

Many small businesses are starting to restructure to become public because it is a great way for them to get investors and spread the knowledge of their business. Recent changes to laws around the country have made this easier. As time continues the laws are predicted to change even more to make it easier for local stores and small businesses to go public.

GoFundMe and Other Crowd Funding

While not the most typical form of investing you can look on websites such as GoFundMe for local businesses. These websites allow users and businesses to post requests for funds. With GoFundMe users are typically only donating money but with websites like KickStarter and Indiegogo allow companies to offer perks for different tiers of investment.

Credit Unions

You may like your big bank but if you truly want to support the community you should consider moving all of your financial accounts to a credit union. These credit unions are set up as non-profits and instead of big bankers benefiting the members of the union benefit. The most important thing about credit unions is that they aim to help the community. For those that need it they provide financial counseling, scholarships, grants, and other forms of outreach to the community. Not only are you helping the community but most credit unions have no fees, better APRs, and better ways to save.

Alternative Investments (Investing In Yourself)

Some people suggest alternative methods of investing locally, they suggest investing in yourself. For example, investing in solar or wind power can not only power your house but it can feed back into the power system to provide extra power for your neighbors and community. When you produce enough power to send power back into the system you can usually get money back from the utility company. Make sure to first get rid of credit card debt, student loans, and any kind of money you owe. You can’t afford to help the community until you are prepared to do so.

Invest in your community today to make an investment in yourself. Not only are you earning money back by investing locally, you are making the place you live better. Often times this will also raise your property value too. It is an all-around win. Help yourself, help your neighbor, and help your community, invest local Illinois.

How to Invest Local

If you’re interested in investing locally, you’ve probably explored credit unions and community banks. The money in community banks goes back out into the community in the form of small business loans. But what are some other options for investing locally?

  1. Angel Investor – If you’re one of the 1% of investors that have a lot of net worth from a successful company or business venture, you can help a start up by becoming an angel investor. Like the name suggests, “angels” invest their own money to make a small business owner’s dream a reality. You are their guardian angel. Most angel investors prefer a focus like food or minority led companies. The sky is the limit.
  2. Community Developed Loan Funds – This is one of the best kept secrets of local investing. Community Developed Loan Funds target under-served and low income neighborhoods. What better way to help a community grow in a positive way than to bring in new business and job opportunities?
  3. Cooperatives – First developed after the industrial revolution, cooperatives are groups of people with similar job sets like ranchers, farmers, brewers, grocers, etc that cooperate or co-op to protect their local interests. They provide loans to the co-op members. By investing in local co-ops, you’d be serving a wide range of businesses at once.
  4. Crowdfunding Local crowdfunding is a hybrid of social media and investment. Most people are familiar with crowdfunded projects like music, tech gadgets, and movies, but a lot of local businesses are turning to crowdfunding to get their product or service to a wider audience. A quick search on any number of popular crowdfunding sites will give you several investment opportunities.
  5. Local Investment Groups –There’s power in numbers. If you want to give a substantial amount of monetary support to local businesses, it may be a good idea to join (or form!) a local investment group. By banding together, your group can help local businesses on a higher scale than you may have been able to just by yourself.
  6. No interest loans – No interest loans fall somewhere between investing and donating to a local business.   The website Kiva popularized the trend of people requesting microloans from potential investors for such things as business supplies and other expenses. The investors get their principal back without interest. Now that dairy farmer can buy more cows thanks to you!
  7. Peer to Peer LendingPeer to Peer (P2P) Lending is gaining popularity. It’s similar to a bank loan except investors loan the person or business the money directly instead of the bank issuing a loan. By cutting out the middle man, the local person or business sees lower interest rates and the investor sees a higher rate of return.  Lending Club and Prosper are two well known P2P sites.

No matter how you decide to invest locally, the important thing is you are giving back to your community members and businesses.   By investing locally, you’re creating a strong foundation of prosperity that everyone benefits from.

WHY INVEST LOCAL?

With so many crowdfunding projects and options available, it’s tough to choose what to support. Do you want to help that new tech gadget get made? What about that movie or video game? Creative arts are great, but why not try looking in our own community for investment opportunities.   Moving money from Wall Street to Main Street is becoming more and more popular. Here are some great reasons why you should consider investing locally too.

  1. Growth Potential – Local businesses make up 50% of US economy but receive almost none of the investment. Most are highly profitable.   Recent data from the IRS shows that start ups with one owner are often as much as eleven times more profitable than corporations. Out of date laws that kept the 99% of Americans that aren’t billionaire investors out of investing, are now changing. This makes it easier for everyone to support local causes and small businesses.

 

  1. Multiple Returns – By investing in local businesses, you get two points of return – money in your portfolio and positive growth and changes in your community. It’s great to see a monetary return on your investment, but it’s even better to know you are doing your part to build a strong, stable community. Every dollar you invest in a local business goes back out into the community through new jobs, higher wages, maintaining parks and recreation centers.

 

  1. Superior Access – Investing locally allows you to get to know the business from the inside. You can meet the owner, talk to the staff, sample the goods and services, learn about how they run the business and what they plan to do with any investment money. You effectively become your own investment analyst.

 

  1. New Tools – As investing locally becomes more and more popular, a wealth of tools to make it easier for you the investor have cropped up. With investment clubs, networks, and investment public offerings at your disposal, investing locally has never been easier.

 

Now take the time to look around your community. You probably already have some favorite restaurants or stores. You might already be friendly with some of the owners. By becoming a local investor, you open numerous opportunities and doors. Your favorite businesses benefit from your faith in their product or service. Helping others is one of the greatest feelings you’ll ever experience. Now you can do it on a grander scale by investing in local businesses. Happy helping!

Amazon Best-Seller: Invest Local by David Barnett

Invest Local BookBack in 2006, I started a new business as a finance broker. I would help small businesses obtain leases, bank loans and finance receivables via a tool called factoring.

I had studied business in university. My education, unfortunately, was all about big companies. In the real world, most businesses are quite small. I had to learn about small business finance ‘in the trenches.’

Over the years, I learned from my finance partners how they made decisions about where to invest their money. I learned about the documents you need to have in place and how to determine the risk involved in a particular loan or lease to a small business.

Eventually, I took the plunge and started doing my own deals with my own money. Loans and leases are the easiest way to invest in a small business that you don’t own or control.

The problem with being a shareholder in a small business is that profits can be affected based on how the controlling owner or manager decides to run things. A fancy new pickup truck can mean no money left to pay dividends to any minority shareholders.

The beauty of a loan or a lease to a small business is that you can define the payments, calculate your rate of return, and create a contingency plan in case things don’t go so well. For example; in a loan to a business you can have physical collateral. In a lease situation; the property is actually in the investor’s name, they hold the title.

These are the exact reason that when Wall St. invests in small businesses, they do so via loans and leases. I’ve never heard of a Wall St. bank wanting to buy stock in a corner store or local dry cleaner.

Since it’s a proven strategy, it’s the one I follow in my own investing.

To learn more about investing in local small businesses, ready my 2014 Amazon Best-Seller: Invest Local. I describe the different investing scenarios that I’ve been in and the different ways to make smart local investments at superior rates of return while controlling risk.

You can find it on Amazon here: http://amzn.com/1497371198 To buy a .pdf copy, learn more about local investing, buying and selling small businesses, personal finance or to sign up for my FREE weekly small business e-mail, visit my blog site; www.InvestLocalBook.com

David Barnett spends his days helping people buy, sell and finance businesses privately.
This Guest Post was to provided by the books author, David Barnett.

TOOLS FOR GRASS ROOTS INVESTORS

Investing locally is a great way to build a strong community.   You live in your particular town, why not invest in it too? By supporting local businesses, you’re not only helping them – you’re helping your community stay strong. As an added bonus, every time you invest in a local business, you’re allowing an entrepreneur realize their dream of owning their own business. It’s a win win for everyone. The only problem is, unless you’re one of the top tier 2% of investors that securities regulators consider accredited, you may be told your investment options are limited. That’s not true. Here are the tools you need to invest local if you’re in the 98% of unaccredited investors.

  1. Invest In Yourself – The best rate of return happens when you invest not only locally but in yourself. Get rid of your credit card debt, buy a home, grow your own food, and generate your own heat and electricity with solar energy.   You are your best local investment.
  1. Create Targeted CDs – Many banks and credit unions are wary of loaning small businesses money without the guarantee of full collateral. To invest local and help out small businesses, you can put your money into a special certificate of deposit that offers full collateral to local businesses. If your bank or credit union currently doesn’t offer this program, ask them to create it.
  1. Pre-purchase Good and Services – This is an approach that works well on crowd funding sites like Indiegogo and kickstarter. The business creates a page and usually a video explaining the product they are trying to create. You decide if you want to support them.   The reward on your investment depends on the level of support you’ve given. By purchasing the goods or services before they’ve been produced, the business raises capital without all the sticky red tape. Type in your town’s name in the search box to find local campaigns to invest in.
  1. Form A Local Investment Club – If you find it difficult to get in to a more established investment fund because you’re an unaccredited investor, form an investment club! Gather community minded individuals together and form a club to pool your assets together. The more funds, the more you can do for your community and local businesses. A new option is participating in equity crowdfunding with a focus on your state or metro area.
  1. Put your money in local banks/credit unions – Forgot using big chain banks. If you are serious about investing local, you need to put all your checking, savings, credit cards, and loans in a local bank or credit union. Credit unions are responsible for 30% of small business loans to companies that may not get a big, chain bank to give them a second look. By moving your assets to a local bank or credit union, you are also showing your support to invest locally.

By investing locally, you’re sending a powerful message to the local, state, and national government. You’re saying ‘I care about Main Street – not Wall Street.’ Make your community special by supporting local businesses.

TOP FIVE WAYS TO INVEST LOCALLY

You’ve heard of Small Business Saturday where, one day a year after Black Friday, you’re encouraged to go out and support local businesses. Why should you limit your support to once a year? Small businesses are the cornerstone that holds a community together.   They make a community unique by providing specialized products instead of just the standard cookie cutter goods and services you can get from the big name businesses that pop up everywhere. Chain stores serve a purpose, but local Mom and Pop stores existed long before the chains moved in.   You may already shop local, but have you considered investing local? Just like giving a pledge to your local PBS station keeps them on the air, you can invest in local businesses to keep them up and running.   Sound easy? It is. Investing locally creates a strong, local economy and sense of community. Here are some of the best ways for you to invest local:

  1. Move your money –   Move your checking, savings, credit cards, and loans to a local credit union or bank versus the national chain banks. Local banks and credit unions account for 20% of small business loans. They invest locally when you do. If your community doesn’t have a local credit union, start one! Credit unions are easier to start up than banks and most can be run by part time employees and volunteers.

 

  1. Donate Locally – Giving to charity is a great way to help others. You probably know the big names, but what about smaller local charities and non profits? Your donations allow the local charities to invest local by helping small businesses be successful. It’s a win win for you and the community.

 

  1. Sponsor Local Businesses – Investing locally by sponsoring small businesses goes beyond getting you or your business’s name up on the sport’s field, on the back of a t-shirt, or in a yearbook. Check popular sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo for local business campaigns to invest in. You may only get a t-shirt or a thank you note, but you can feel good knowing you and others like you invest locally to help a entrepreneur achieve their dream.

 

  1. Prepare a Community List – Sites like Craigslist and Freecycle are great for finding local goods, but what about finding local investment opportunities? Create a craigslist like list for local investors looking to support local businesses. It may take time to track down leads, but overall it is an easy project to create. As a bonus, once word gets out about your invest local list, businesses will come to you with leads.

 

  1. Promote Program Related Investments – By law, foundations must donate at least 5% of their assets each year. The other 95% usually goes to non local stocks, bonds and other causes. Try to convince your local foundations and non profits to invest that 95% into local businesses instead. This is called Program Related Investments.   If the local business is not successful, the foundation can always apply the loss toward their grant-giving requirement.

 

Investing local is a great way to give back to your community.   It strengthens the local economy and ensures that small businesses will continue to be around to produce their unique goods and services. Why be cookie cutter when you can stand out? Investing locally is also a lot easier than you’d think. Anyone can do it. With a little bit a practice, you can become an Invest Local pro! What are you waiting for? Go Invest Local.