The Corvallis Sustainability Coalition is pleased to announce the results of the Economic Vitality Action Team’s Local Investing Survey.
In March 2013, the nearly 500 participants at the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition Town Hall voted to make “Local Investing” the Coalition’s 2013 priority. This established a vision of our community as one where those community members with capital resources could share with with local business leaders and entrepreneurs to grow investments and a more vibrant local community. The Economic Vitality Action Team first worked to collect the variety of tools available.
The options discovered are numerous, but not self executing. As an initial step, the Economic Vitality Action Team crafted a survey designed to identify the capacity for local investing in the Corvallis area and the characteristics of potential investors and companies who may be seeking investment. The survey (now closed for responses) is at tiny.cc/EVATsurvey The survey was distributed with the help of the Corvallis Economic Development Office, the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Corvallis Association, the Business Enterprise Center, and First Alternative Food Co-op.
188 members of the Corvallis community responded to the survey. Participants include 78 business owners or those looking to start a business, of which 33 said they would be seeking investors shortly.
Businesses participating in the survey were mostly small businesses with 5 or fewer employees. More than half were businesses established for over 5 years.
Of those businesses who expect to seek funding, they were looking to use it primarily to expand–either production, employees, machinery, or inventory. The amount of money being sought was often a modest amount, with most businesses looking to raise less than $25,000. These businesses reported that they would typically expect to look to their friends, family, or their own funds first to raise this money.
Survey participants who were interested in investing came from throughout the community. They often had some experience, with nearly a third saying that they had lent money to start-ups previously and nearly half saying that they had once managed or co-owned a business. If participating in local investments, these investors would be motivated mainly by promoting sustainability, slow and low risk growth, taking investment money from Wall Street to Corvallis, and especially promoting local food production and solar.
The results were presented to the Corvallis Economic Development Commission at their February 10, 2014 meeting. The slides from that presentation, including all survey responses, is available as a PDF HERE >> EVAT Feb 2014 EDC Presentation
The most striking result from the survey is that even among those interested in taking a local investing survey, there is a lot of demand for more information about the various opportunities. Local investing is a new and developing field. Much of its legal infrastructure and cultural support is still being developed. The Economic Vitality Action Team expects to remain on top of the field and to be an educational resource, both for businesses looking to harness community capital and for investors looking for opportunities to move their money into investments that better suit their values and serve their community.